Chicken farm agreed despite animal fears

A Borders beef farmer’s bid to diversify into poultry production has been approved despite it ruffling the feathers of neighbours and a 22,000-name petition opposing it.

Monday, 12th October 2020, 5:47 pm
Falsidehill Farm in Kelso.

Scottish Border Council’s planning and building standards committee has given the green light for four chicken sheds capable of housing more than 37,000 birds at Falsidehill Farm, north of Kelso.

Members followed the recommendation of council planning officer Craig Miller in agreeing the move.

Currently, applicant Stuart Ramsey’s 675-acre farm is given over to pasture for breeding and rearing cattle, an enterprise centred on a herd of 350 suckler cows.

Now he can diversify his business by adding a poultry farm for fertile egg production, in addition to store rooms, egg-packing facilities and a loading bay.

The total floorspace of that development will be almost 7,000sq m.

The application had met with opposition both near and far.

Objections were submitted by 12 households both close at hand and further afield, and a protest petition drawn up by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and backed by about 22,000 signatories had been handed over.

Issues raised include concerns over poultry farming in principle, animal cruelty, and the welfare of the birds.

A spokesperson for PETA said: “Thousands of compassionate people have spoken and Scottish Borders Council should heed their concerns for animal welfare, the environment, health and the community.

“PETA is calling for this plan to be scrapped, sparing thousands of birds a lifetime of suffering and an agonising death.”

However, the plea fell on deaf ears.

In his report to next week’s meeting, Mr Miller said: “A number of the objections, together with the petition, question moral and welfare issues associated with intensive poultry units. Whilst members may note the concerns expressed, such matters are not for consideration within a planning application and relate more to national policy and statutory regulations governing the operation of such uses.”