April 30, 2024


Thousands of environmental breaches uncovered at England, UK poultry and swine farms


A joint investigation by inews and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) has unveiled thousands of environmental violations at industrial-scale poultry and swine farms across England, UK, shedding light on maggot-infested carcass bins and illicit swine incineration, inews reported.


The revelations come amid mounting concerns regarding the environmental footprint of US-style megafarms in the UK, prompting alarm over the proliferation of hazardous waste generated by the industry.


According to inspection reports, the Environment Agency documented over 3,000 breaches of environmental regulations at intensive pig and poultry farms from 2017 to 2022. These infractions encompassed incidents such as manure runoff into rivers and animal overcrowding without proper authorisation.


While many violations resulted in farms receiving advisory guidance, formal cautions and warnings were issued in over 500 cases, with nearly 50 prosecutions initiated, leading to fines and, in extreme cases, imprisonment.


Most breaches were related to inadequate farm waste management, with farm effluent posing threats to water quality and emitting harmful ammonia into the air. Instances of substandard infrastructure maintenance and deficient record-keeping were also prevalent among the violations.


Farmers have expressed the need for increased governmental support to adopt environmentally friendly practices, especially following the decline of the EU farming subsidy scheme post-Brexit. The Government's introduction of a new subsidy scheme, aimed at assisting farmers in meeting environmental obligations, has faced delays, exacerbating financial strains for some.


Concurrently, the proliferation of US-style megafarms in the UK has raised concerns, with the number of such farms increasing by 21% since 2016.


Responding to the findings, an Environment Agency spokesperson reiterated the sector's responsibility to enhance environmental stewardship, highlighting that most inspections in 2023 resulted in advisory measures, with a smaller percentage leading to formal actions.


-      inews

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