CONTROVERSIAL proposals for a slaughterhouse in Todmorden have been approved.
Councillors have given the go-ahead to the plans for Peter Boddy to slaughter about five to six cattle, 20 to 30 lambs and five to six pigs each week at East Hey Head Farm, Hey Head Lane.
For 28 years Mr Boddy has been slaughtering 15 to 25 deer, 400 pheasant, duck, partridges and rabbits every week at the farm.
His plans were supported by other people, 77 of whom signed a petition backing it. But 36 letters of objection were also received.
Richard Storah, agent for Mr Boddy, said a localised slaughterhouse would reduce the animals’ suffering.
“The movement of livestock for slaughter stresses animals as does herding in large groups and placing in unfamiliar surroundings,” he said.
“This raises welfare concerns. Meat quality diminishes if animals are stressed, resulting in altered meat colour and toughness, reducing the value of meat.
“A local slaughterhouse reduces stress by reducing travel. It also allows animals to rest in a familiar farm setting – this is surely more humane.
”There is a 77-name petition in support of this application, which is also supported by Todmorden Town Council. It will broaden the scope of the existing farming business.”
Mr Storah said concerns about traffic, pollution and waste had been addressed.
Peter Ward, of Lower Winsley Farm, Todmorden, attended the committee meeting to represent dozens of objectors.
He raised concerns about poorly designed buildings, the slaughterhouse being close to homes, the roads being unsuitable for lorries and the possible contamination of water. He said: “Why is it acceptable for walkers on the Calderdale Way to be passing within five metres of a slaughterhouse and all that this entails?
“Is it right that residents can hear the sound of the slaughter gun?
“They are already subjected to the sight of various animal carcasses lying around the premises. Surely this has a detrimental effect on the amenity value on this most valued right of way through the Calder Valley?”
Coun Olwen Jennings (Lib Dem, Todmorden), who supported the objections said: “This is an area of special landscape value and I don’t see why we need a slaughterhouse. It’s in entirely the wrong place and no one seems to have addressed the issue of the animals going to this place either.”
A condition has been added by councillors preventing retail sales from the site to reduce traffic. The council’s environmental health officers and the Environment Agency also plan further restrictions regarding water storage and drainage.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Ward said: “The decision has been rail-roaded through”.
Alan Fiddling, of Cross Stone, Todmorden, said: “I think this is a decision that has been made without the majority of the committee. There were a number of abstentions.
“The decision is appalling for the area.”