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Very sad local news...
I was walking yesterday and met a woman who lives nearby. She told me a nearby farm (which I know) has put up a new cowshed. Well, of course I had seen the building work going on all through the summer. (This is NOT my nearest neighbours and their farm, by the way.)
And then I heard that the farmer intends to keep those cows in the huge barn all year round. That is the plan. Unlike my neighbouring farm who always let the cows out in March or April, right through to October or whenever the weather gets very bad.

We were both horrified. Of course, I didn't know this.
New building always has to have planning permission, and a public notice is put up, to give people the chance to contest the building work.....and now I feel so sorry because I never saw one, and I do walk that way quite often.

It is a huge step backwards. Cows in a barn every moment of their lives. Never seeing the sun, or touching grass! Factory farming on my doorstep! I am sad to know factory farming is going on less than a mile away.
I have never seen that round here.

The woman said she didn't want to go vegan, but always bought organic milk products from a farm she knows who have grass-fed cows with a better life. That life is not any way ideal, and involves emotional suffering but not as bad as those cows who will never see the light of day, except for a few brief moments each day when the sunlight passes between their concrete blocks. Poor Souls.

That particular farm's herd always used to be out in the fields! What is the matter with those people?
How horrible. That is a step backward. We are trying to find a way to leave farming dark ages behind and your neighbour is setting up a factory farm. Why would he even consider doing that. Surely he has better results with cows that live outside. The cows could eat natural food. In a shed he would have to spend money on food all year round. It won't even be the best food for cows.
Too bad you didn't see the notice. Maybe it wasn't well displayed because they didn't want people like you to see it.
Is there any way to protest it now.
Can you put up posters and let the whole area know that this is happening. Is there any chance that they would care?

I feel for the cows that will suffer there.  No creature deserves a life like that. Smiley19

Let us know what happens. Is there a local council you can complain to?  Certainly there will be serious agricultural runoff that will pollute water in your area.
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(01-04-2016, 03:31 AM)Tobi Wrote: What is the matter with those people?

In a word, greed. Farmers can make more money by using the ground intensively (which depletes the ground of the rarer minerals, which traditional NPK fertilisers do not replace - another sad story). They then keep the animals in barns and feed them with their own crops, hay and bought-in commercial feed. This makes them more money, perhaps - but at what cost to the poor animals and to the soil!

The other reason is that they save time: no more letting out in the fields morning and evening, and gathering back for milking. The poor cows are just "sitting ducks", trapped ready for milking at convenient times for the farmer. No need for farm dogs; no herding necessary. Efficient? Maybe. Saves the farmers time and money? In the short term only, yes. Compassionate? No. Natural? No. Good for the animals or the soil? No. Are more antibiotics needed because of close proximity of animals 24/7? Yes.

Fortunately, here in France things are still a little "backward". The vast majority of farms, although gradually getting bigger with more automated milking houses, still have their cows outside, often all year (except when it snows or is extremely cold). To be honest, their lives are pretty natural (except for the artificial inseminations). But the "cow warehouses" are beginning to creep in, even here. I believe that they are quite common in some parts of the USA.

Tobi, I'm so sad to read to your news. Could there be a challenge on environmental grounds, as Catherine has suggested?
Terrible. It's bad enough the gentle 'creatures of the field' are exploited as they are, but to confine them to the factory farm method ...

Yes, it is all about greed and profit. And I fear a sign of things to come with a growing population and diminishing farm land.
(In China there's a factory farm in the pipeline with the capacity to hold 100,000 cows ...)
Heart It is our deeds, the accumulated acts of goodness and kindness that define us and ultimately are the true measure of our worth. Service is the coin of the spirit.Heart
Completely different to that farmer I spoke of -today I saw my neighbouring farmer (where the black dog Jet used to live) -taking his cows for a 'walk'! They have to be in the barn during the winter, especially during these wet conditions, but through binoculars, I saw him take the herd up and down the big track, just to let them out and give them some exercise. And the cows looked like they were having such fun. It was a nice sunny day, rather spring-like.

I smiled, and felt a great deal of respect for what he was doing. Maybe it was only because they had to sluice down the shed....I don't know. But it was good to see that.

I will see what I can find out. I am upset about it and know that I have at least one supporter!

Strangely, the people at that farm where the 'factory conditions' are going to be were always nice to me too. Friendly, and let me and Misty track through their garden once when the roads were ice sheets. It is strange how people are. How they can be so decent, and yet so cruel at the same time. It is all about profit, and better yield, and 'running a business'etc. All about money. The cows are viewed as milk producing machines.

Yet what I can't understand is why they didn't decide to 'go Organic'. There is defintely a demand for Organic grass-fed dairy produce locally. Yeo Valley Farmers make a good living out of it.

Guess what? No mention of "animal welfare" or a veterinarian's report on the 58 Planning Application Documents related to the construction!
Concern of course over the loss of 3 apple trees, and a possible Dormouse habitat (which was circumvented by the building of tubes and tunnels -just in case.) Concern about the possiblity of a bat colony, but this wasn't discovered. No mention of the cows!
The survey took into account legislation protecting species, habitat and flora of the area including a 1KM radius of the site. It was passed, to take forward into planning.

On the "Noise Assessment" document...
"It is in fact an essential element of this type of milking and cow accommodation system, that the animal welfare matters are of extreme importance, and this includes the requirement for very low noise levels."

They care more about noise pollution, tree planting, and the setting up of bird boxes (in mitigation), light pollution, and disturbance to the view or potential archeological sites of interest, than they care about the COWS.

There appears to be disapproval from English Heritage, that the development would impact on the "peacefulness" of an early 15th century Tithe Barn very close by (which used to be part of Glastonbury Abbey) Although the National Trust gave its approval....but again no mention of the cows.

And after reading the complete planning document collection, there is no other mention of animal welfare considerations.

There is no apparent threat to the local water table, as 'foul waste' goes directly to the above ground slurry store; this is called a "Sustainable Drainage System". So it doesn't appear there can be any public contention about that Catherine. That is clearly stated in the plans.

I intend to contact Devon and Somerset Trading Standards, Animal Health and Welfare department, quoting the link for the planning approval and documents, and the reference number, and ask if they will investigate on animal welfare grounds. However, I have noticed that for 'complaints' they seem to refer you to DEFRA or to the RSPCA. But there are other links at the end of the page which I could check out.

On this page:

this clause is pertinent:

"Ability to exhibit normal behaviour

....All animals must be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns. Behaviour patterns vary depending on the species of animal. The ability to play and interact is particularly important for many young animals (such as dogs, horses and pigs) as it allows them to learn how to socialise, communicate, and interact with other animals and people properly. Being able to express normal behaviour also helps to prevent animals becoming bored, stressed and frustrated...."

Normal behaviour couldn't happen in a factory-farming environment. And keeping cows in a shed for their whole lives is exactly that.

Anyway I will do what I can.
They are being very careful not to mention the cows. That is the one thing they want you to forget.
They can plan for everything else and make it look good. There is no way they can make this look good for the cows.

I know it is hard for farmers to make a living. It must be tempting to go the factory farming route. The amount of money they make will not be worth the price the cows will pay. The milk they produce will not be as good. It will be the product of stressed cows.

The farmers who have gone organic are on the right track. I think people are starting to want organic foods. They are starting to care where their food comes from. So your neighbour is moving into the dark ages of farming when  the public is shifting the other way.

It is sad that so many farmers still think that way. Your area seemed so good up until now.

Keep us posted.
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(01-05-2016, 06:19 PM)Catherine Wrote: I know it is hard for farmers to make a living. It must be tempting to go the factory farming route. The amount of money they make will not be worth the price the cows will pay. The milk they produce will not be as good. It will be the product of stressed cows.

Unfortunately the effect of humans absorbing energy like that is insidious. They may develop illnesses, perhaps things like breast cancer and other ills, and have no idea why. And never think for a moment that some terrible energy from a food product they use habitually, and the taking on of animals' suffering, might be the cause of their disease. Especially if the packaging and advertising promotes a natural, 'country' image, with pictures of happy cows, blue skies with fluffy white clouds, and daisies on the grass.....and if it promotes that dairy produce as a valuable source of calcium.
I really feel that sustenance is not just a matter of protein, vitamins, minerals, etc, but is also the type of life-force within the food.
This is very sad. I don't know what to say.
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Quote:I really feel that sustenance is not just a matter of protein, vitamins, minerals, etc, but is also the type of life-force within the food.
I think you may be right. I think it does matter where our food comes from. We turned to factory farming and cruel ways of producing food and diseases like cancer, stroke, heart disease and diabetes have become almost epidemic.
We have whole generations that have never eaten healthy food and I don't think they are as healthy as our parents and grandparents.
This whole situation of a factory farm in your area is very disturbing. I hope it doesn't start a trend.
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