Opponents of controversial mega-pig farms picket conference attended by senior planners and government scientists

The Newtownabbey Protest group against the pig factory protest at Stormont yesterday Picture by Hugh Russell.

OPPONENTS of controversial mega-pig farms have picketed a conference attended by senior planners, government scientists and NI Water representatives.

Planning permission has already been granted for one farm at Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, which will house 15,000 animals in purpose-built sheds on around seven acres of land.

However, protesters claim the go-ahead was given before a Cumulative Impact Assessment had been completed, and say they continue to press for a reversal of the decision by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

Their numbers have been swelled by campaigners against a similar mega-farm for pigs in Limavady, Co Derry which is still going through the planning process.

They took their fight to Stormont yesterday where a `Protecting the Environment by Living and Working Sustainably' conference was being held by the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management.

Protesters claimed the event had a disproportionately high contribution from the agri-business industry with little or no imput from environmentalists or members of the public affected by these decisions.

Harriett Moore-Boyd, from Newtownabbey, expressed concern at such events being held "at a time when we do not have a legislative assembly to challenge these policy makers who are being influenced by agri-business".

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