Factory farming in Northern Ireland will produce waste equivalent to 12 million people
A mega-farm proposed at Limavady will produce 1.3 million tonnes of pig slurry every year. This has dire implications for the environment of Northern Ireland, as well as animal welfare.
The strategy that is increasing factory farming in Northern Ireland is called Going for Growth and will create pollution that is equivalent to 12 million people. Northern Ireland currently has 1.8 million people.
Untreated pig slurry contains high levels of ammonia. According to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), 98% of Special Areas of Conservation have already exceeded critical thresholds for ammonia emissions at which ecological damage occurs.
The growth in factory farms could be a cautionary tale for the rest of the UK. Post Brexit, as the UK seeks trade deals with countries that have lower environmental and welfare standards than the EU, what is happening in Northern Ireland could be the future for the whole country. It is vital that high standards are maintained after the UK leaves the EU.
Gwyneth McQuiston, founder of the campaign group Stop Limavady Pig Factory, said:
“I worry what will happen to this beautiful green landscape that I grew up with. Will the tourists still want to come if the water is poisoned and the wildlife is dying?”
“The Limavady proposals alone aim to increase pig numbers in our area to 81,000. There are only 30,000 people in the town”
James Orr, director of Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland, said:
“Northern Ireland is already plagued by shocking levels of ammonia emissions. Releasing further ammonia from pig slurry into Northern Ireland’s ecosystems will lead to environmental disaster.”
“Intensive agriculture and the associated problems with a massive increase in pig slurry cannot be the path to a healthy future for Northern Ireland.”