Pig megafarm number two as farmer puts in plan to council
A planning application has been submitted for a massive pig farm near Limavady that could be even bigger than the controversial Halls Farm pig megafarm plan in Newtownabbey.
Causeway Coast and Glens Council confirmed last night that it had received a planning application for a new pig farm at Glenhead Road, Limavady.
The site is close to tourism centres like the Roe Park Golf Resort as well as the Roe salmon river.
The planning application has been submitted by local farmer Thomas John Simpson, whose new farms, if approved, will house more than 2,200 sows.
The planning application says there are to be 2,247 sows in the new unit - and if each sow produces the NI average of two litters per year and 10 piglets per litter, that will mean well over 40,000 pigs per year going through Mr Simpson's Glenhead Road farm - exceeding the 30,000 envisaged for Hall's Farm in Newtownabbey, and making the Limavady site one of the largest pig farms in the UK.
Recent proposals for a pig farm in Foston, England, included housing for 2,500 sows - which were expected to produce an average of 1,000 pigs per week - more than 50,000 per year.
Last night, Mr Simpson told the Belfast Telegraph that he had submitted the application in concert with nine other farms.
The pigs would be raised at the Glenhead site until they weighed 30kg and when they reached that weight they would then be moved to one of the nine farms in the co-op for fattening.
They would eventually be slaughtered and processed at the Karro pork processing plant in Cookstown.
"This is has been in the planning for four years," Mr Simpson said: "And we're still waiting for a connection to the electricity grid."
The pig farm proposal would bring new jobs to the area, he said - as well as safeguarding many existing jobs in the pig processing industry.
There will be at least a dozen jobs created at the Glenhead Road site, and many more safeguarded in the other farms in the co-operative - as well as at the Karro processing plant.
The Karro facility in Cookstown is the last pig processing plant in Northern Ireland, said Mr Simpson.
"If they close, the pig industry in Northern Ireland would be finished.
"The cost of transporting pigs to Great Britain or the Republic would make it uneconomical - as well as being bad for the animals' welfare." Mr Simpson added: "The pigs will be in modern, green, disease-free conditions - and with improved biosecurity will not need antibiotics and other medicines."
At 8.5 acres, the Glenhead road proposal would be smaller in area than the controversial Newtownabbey plan, which has attracted the ire of UK celebrities like Brian May and Jenny Seagrove.