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Farming boss calls for move to more US-style mega-farms

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 11, 2012

Dairy farmer
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The president of the National Farmers' Union (NFU) has advocated controversial "super- farms" as part of a solution to ensure that demand can be met while animal welfare is maintained.

Peter Kendall argues that the UK should follow the example of the US, where thousands of pigs are reared on farms, instead of the 100 to 150 typically seen in Britain.

He believes larger farms are more profitable, and better positioned to invest in areas such as equipment and expertise to ensure higher animal welare.

However, the issue is said to have "polarised" opinion.

Mr Kendall told the Guardian: "The challenge of feeding everybody with the constraints of climate change and weather shocks is so great we'll need a complete rethink."

He was speaking after a report showed that farmland scarcity in the UK was reaching the levels seen in China.

Two applications for super- farms are pending in the UK – one in Wales, which would hold up to 1,000 pigs, and one in Derbyshire, for 2,500.

Critics claim injuries could go unnoticed and disease could be rife, and they highlight the impact of slurry on the environment.

Mr Kendall said the UK was about 62 per cent self-sufficient in the food it could produce overall and 40 per cent self-sufficient with regard to pork – so there was "plenty of scope" for big producers with room for smaller ones as well. He said: "I want to make sure we're not importing food that's produced to lower welfare standards and therefore driving our farmers out."

But Mr Kendall said he did not believe larger farms would become the norm in the UK, partly because of a lack of available land.

He added: "This is about a few experimental versions, so we can see whether it lowers greenhouse gas emissions, see whether it's welfare-friendly, see what the impacts are on the environment."

Jeff Thomas, from St Just-in-Penwith in Cornwall and president of the Devon Cattle Breeders Association, said: "Farming seems to be becoming polarised. On one hand you have the large turnover highly commercial big businesses and on the other you have producers working for niche markets. They can both be good outlets.

"The greatest pressure at the moment is in the middle ground, particularly people milking small herds of dairy cattle who do not have the economies of scale, nor niche customers. The niche will always be there because people are willing to pay a little bit more for a top-quality product – but the simple fact remains you cannot sell a lot of it."

Anthony Gibson, former regional director of the NFU in the South West, said: "I am much more keen on the concept of super farming rather than super-farms. "

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  • esotericage3  |  June 15 2012, 11:51PM

    Esotericage or is it Chas again? A Hitler? That's rich you idiot! You're the 'supremacist' that has others subjugate animals to use as he pleases. The only time I've acted the supremacist is in the fighting arena, empty handed with other men the same weight who choose to be there. If the only protein you could get was from another human you'd be dead. Man up you big girl and defend the defenceless or be a keyboard coward for the rest of your life and live with the guilt!" Dear, dear, me. I'm trying not to laugh at you Marx. I'm finding it constantly funny that you keep attacking me on a personal level just because I enjoy consuming meat. Your obsessional behaviour on this isssue just goes to show that you have a major chip on your muscle bound shoulder. Come on Steve, you haven't thrown your best punch yet!. Humans need meat to survive. And whether a man from St. Austell likes it or not, I for one will enjoy my protein. Fancy some veal Max?. My appetite for meat will never end. Bon appétit, so say the French... C

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  • homerjay  |  June 15 2012, 11:08PM

    Charles I'll not need an education that leads to the arrogance and ignorance you display on this forum, and if I need manners, I'll learn nothing from you. After the support I've leant you and your alter ego esoteric, against the Gary trolls, I'd have expected more. Poldice Charles was using the lambs heart as bait rather than food Esotericage or is it Chas again? A Hitler? That's rich you idiot! You're the 'supremacist' that has others subjugate animals to use as he pleases. The only time I've acted the supremacist is in the fighting arena, empty handed with other men the same weight who choose to be there. If the only protein you could get was from another human you'd be dead. Man up you big girl and defend the defenceless or be a keyboard coward for the rest of your life and live with the guilt!

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  • poldice  |  June 15 2012, 8:29AM

    When any animal is slaughtered for food it is immoral not to use every part, the animal in question is no less dead if the heart is not eaten, it also makes economic sense to maximise the financial return on each and every carcase. Those who do not wish to eat meat have a very simple solution... they dont.

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  • esotericage3  |  June 15 2012, 12:34AM

    You sound like a right little socialist Hitler Marx or should I say Max. I'm sorry Max, I do not agree with your views. You sound more like a "brainwashed control freak" than a man who supports animal welfare. Humans are meant to eat protein, its a natural and important part of the human diet. Get over it Marx, sorry Max. Regards, esoteric

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  • Charlespk  |  June 14 2012, 2:22PM

    Quote:- from Dianne Summers update. "On May 11th I was informed by my consultant that the spoligotype was the same as my herd from 2009. I had not helped any other herd with the same strain type as myself so at least we now know it was from my breakdown back in 2008/09. As stated earlier I had lost 8 only 6 of these had visible lesions and I took all the necessary precautions once I knew I had TB. We have many many owners who have lost far more infected alpacas then I have so the risk to them/us is huge and let's not forget Vets and Shearers who are constantly exposed to risk. The risk Must not be minimized by anyone." Molecular typing of Mycobacterium bovis isolates in Argentina: first description of a person-to-person transmission case. http://tinyurl.com/bwxembw (open in a new window)

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  • Charlespk  |  June 14 2012, 10:31AM

    Dianne Summers M.bovis update. http://tinyurl.com/cqqdhfy (open in a new window)

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  • Charlespk  |  June 14 2012, 9:03AM

    You need to get some serious help Max. . Stuffed Lamb's hearts is Gourmet eating, in the same way as Beef Wellington is. Max Power now reduced to childish insults because he can no longer handle real life. . You couldn't survive in my world Max as far as the welfare of animals is concerned. . Have you ever had to watch a lamb you've bred being carried off bleating before it gets its belly ripped out by the fox and all the cubs? . I suppose watching BBC wildlife documentaries about 'nature' it doesn't seem so real for you? . . And don't tell me you are one of those who believe badgers should have the right to infect all other mammals with M.bovis because they're so cuddly! Farmer tells story of how she caught TB. http://tinyurl.com/czmnjd3 (open in a new window) Get an education, and learn some manners Max. http://tinyurl.com/brmfv5v (open in a new window) http://tinyurl.com/d2rjkdg (open in a new window)

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  • homerjay  |  June 13 2012, 11:47PM

    Wake up esotericage! Of course you abuse animals. You eat them! You just get others to abuse them for your benefit, evolve! If Black people or vice versa had an affinity to eat white people (and all the logic applies here) that would that be ok? And brainwashed? Good God, we've got rid of slavery, sexism, and all the other 'isms except for speciesism, no matter that they are sentient beings, they look different and we can inflict any amount of suffering upon them in the name of dietary choice? next step Hitler youth eh?

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  • esotericage3  |  June 13 2012, 11:36PM

    The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than blacks were made for whites or women made for men." Alice Walker" Just words Max.

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  • homerjay  |  June 13 2012, 11:31PM

    The travesty is that if Charles commented ''stuffed Human heart is really succulent'' etc. he'd not only be banned from the forum but he'd have a visit from the boys in blue and rightly so, but because it's ONLY a 16 week old baby animal and although he's using this to bait me in a way only Conservatives know how, I am the guilty one. Funny old world. "The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than blacks were made for whites or women made for men." Alice Walker

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