The Green Party has reacted strongly to proposals to construct a 3,770-cow dairy in Lincolnshire.
Nocton Dairies last month submitted proposals for a 'mega-dairy' on Nocton Heath, sparking protest from animal rights and sustainability campaigners. The petition opposing the plans, promoted by campaigning group 38 Degrees, has so far gained over 50,000 signatures.
North Kesteven District Councillors are due to vote on the proposals in January, after the public consultation period closes on 11 January 2011.
"This industrial scale dairy would be a bad move for agriculture, for animal welfare and for the environment,” insisted Adrian Ramsay, Deputy Leader of the Green Party, “It will lead to the demise of smaller and more environmentally sustainable farms at a time when many farmers are already struggling to make ends meet.”
The Green Party has for years supported a reform of supermarket buying practices so that farmers receive "a fair price for their produce".
Ramsay, who is a Green councillor in Norwich, said, “A large number of scientific studies have shown that cows kept on pasture are healthier. With Nocton's cows eating no fresh grass, there are major animal welfare concerns about this proposal.”
He added, “There are also major environmental concerns because the cows will instead be eating food grown on land that could have been used for food production for people."
Ramsay explained that he supports wider reforms of agriculture while continuing to back campaigns such as this one. "The Green Party believes that cows belong in fields,” he said.