It took six years, $500,000 USD, and an unknown sum of a farmer’s time, but Fraser Jones will be able to build a 1,000 cow dairy in Leighton, Wales, in the United Kingdom. The Court ruled out one last animal rights’ group attempt to stop it, and ordered the group – World Society for the Protection of Animals – pay Jones £6,000 (just over $10,000 USD) for legal costs.
The 1,000-cow farm is nothing new to the U.S., but huge by U.K. standards. Plans were originally submitted in 2011 and approved, but later in discussion at the local county council those same plans were refused. But the opposition from the council started with the original application in 2008.
Then, in October 2013, the farm was approved again, by a Welsh minister. But, the WSPA lawsuit slowed the development again until today.
The farm is building a large fodder storage facility, a water tower, and two slurry silos on 16,000 square meters (172,000 square feet). It will have three freestall barns (called cubicles in Europe), and a 72- unit rotary parlor, and work could begin as early as next week. It’s estimated to cost nearly $6 million USD at today’s exchange rates. The farm expects to have 12 full-time workers and 4 part-time employees.
Celebrities, animal rights groups, and individuals helped assemble 6,000 signatures against “mega dairies” as part of the fight. The opponents even created a new group specifically to oppose this farm: CALFe - Campaign Against Leighton Farm expansion.
Speaking after the decision, Mr Jones told Farmers Weekly: “I was 28 years old when all this started. I am 34 now.”
“It has cost me £300,000 to get to this stage but I am very, very happy.”