Controversial facility became a cause celebre... even Brian May waded into row
Opposition to the mega farm has been robust since plans were first made public, with one famous objector, former Queen guitarist Brian May, weighing in to brand it the "antithesis" of humane farming.
The animal rights activist's sentiments echoed those of more than 184,000 people who registered their objections to the farm in an online petition. May said the 'vile' type of facility had nearly wiped out traditional farming in the United States.
More than 2,000 also wrote official letters of objection to Newtownabbey Council, with outrage about the farm being voiced from many other parts of the world.
The council revealed that up to 1,500 further objection letters had not yet been registered, due to the volume the local authority had received.
Arguing that the farm would be environmentally toxic, May challenged owner Derek Hall's contention that it would allow more space for the pigs, insisting it was "cruel and degrading" and that it threatened the livelihoods of other smaller farmers.
"It is the final unacceptable step into the complete denial that animals have any feelings or any right to a decent life and a decent death," he said in the Belfast Telegraph in June.
"Mechanised farming on this scale is a horrific prospect."
But it was also revealed in June that Mr Hall was determined to present his case to the public when it was learned he had hired a top Belfast PR firm to represent him.
The high profile company was recruited to help the farmer explain his plans, published through an official website called nipigfarm.com, in a bid to alleviate the public's concerns.