Thousands fight plans for 'rabbit slaughterhouse' in North Derbyshire
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A planning application has been submitted to Derbyshire Dales District Council the local planning authority, seeking permission for a rural worker’s dwelling and agricultural/food production building on land east of Turlowfield Lane, Hognaston.
Permission was previously granted for a temporary dwelling, in connection with a free-range rabbit farm.
A statement accompanying the application, says: “In order to continue to grow the business the applicant requires an additional building for cooking and food preparation.
“This will enable the enterprise to process and prepare the rabbits, not only producing ‘oven-ready’ whole rabbits, jointed and diced rabbit meat, but also pies and pates and other products ready for sale through the open markets, shops, public houses and restaurants.”
However, animal rights campaigners are fighting the scheme, saying there is “no appetite for rabbit farming in the UK”.
And more than 6,000 people have already signed a petition on website change.org, urging permission be refused for the “rabbit slaughterhouse”.
It says: “There is no demand for rabbit meat in the UK, most people are repulsed at the thought of consuming the UK's third most popular pet.”
The Rabbit Welfare Association is currently fundraising to pay a planning consultant to help fight the scheme, while Rabbit Farm Resistance UK and Animal Aid are both encouraging their supporters to object to the scheme.
Suggested objections include increased traffic, visual harm, that tourism would be “marred by the presence of a rabbit fur and meat farm nearby”, that “the killing and processing of rabbits will likely generate significant waste, noise and foul smells” and that “as rabbit farming is something which is highly frowned upon in current public attitudes, the farm would attract protests and unwanted attention, disrupting local life”.
No rabbit slaughterhouses in the UK
Jessica Jones, of Rabbit Farm Resistance UK, said: “We believe there are already far too many ways in which we exploit animals without the need for a new one – there are no rabbit slaughterhouses in the UK and there's no requirement for one, it'd be a backwards step for the country to allow one to be built.
“Rabbits are sensitive, complex individuals who are naturally fearful, do not cope well in a farming environment, and experience extreme stress at slaughter.
“They deserve far more than to be treated this way, as objects for their bodies and skins.”
There are also concerns about the use of rabbit fur in products – although fur farms were banned in the UK more than 20 years ago, it can be used if a by-product of the meat trade.
Tor Bailey, Animal Aid campaign manager, said: “To think of a rabbit slaughtering facility on the site, is chilling.
“Rabbits are the third most kept companion animal in the UK and many people would shudder at the thought of eating rabbit meat or wearing a rabbit’s fur.”
T&S Rabbits, the firm behind the scheme, has been approached for comment.
A council spokeswoman confirmed the application had been received and said all details relating to it were available to view online.