Murthly Villagers Oppose Proposed Specialist Poultry Breeder Farm and Demand Moratorium on Planning Applications for New or Expanded Industrial Poultry Units in Scotland

Please help us prevent the industrial invasion of intensive poultry farms in our beautiful Scottish countryside by adding your voice and signature to our petition.  

Enough is enough. We join those in Wales, Herefordshire and Shropshire in common purpose, to raise our voices and protest at this environmental assault upon our lovely village and surrounds. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and recent outbreaks originating in poultry processing plants (including the most recent in Coupar Angus), we call for the Scottish Government to impose a moratorium of no less than six (6) months on the approval of any planning applications for new or expanded industrial poultry units (“IPU”) in Scotland, including but not limited to large-scale breeding farms, broiler farms and meat processing plants.

Aviagen, a giant global corporation and their supporters, SAC Ltd, Bidwells and the owner of Murthly Castle and Estate, are in the process of submitting a planning application for a specialist chicken breeding farm just outside our village. Aviagen and their likes may well be coming to a place near you soon and have targeted Murthly in our quiet corner of Perthshire at the start of the Highlands.

Intensive poultry farms hide in plain sight in our Scottish Countryside under the guise of rural diversification. At this juncture we are unaware of any Scottish Council rejecting such applications. This is a disgrace.

We need your help and support now. We have all read about the Covid 19 debacle at Coupar Angus and outbreaks at other poultry operations elsewhere in the UK and overseas. We do not welcome industrial operations that require bio-security on our doorstep. This is not just about Murthly, it’s about all of Scotland and the rest of the UK. Scotland contains one of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe. If we don’t protect it, who will?  

We must stop the toxic spread of intensive poultry factories. Hundreds exist throughout the UK and they have grown exponentially during the past 2 decades. We cannot allow this to continue with systemic approval by rubber-stamping authorities. Approval was given to a large industrial facility at nearby Bankfoot despite protests, a similar experience occurred at Ardler, also in Perth and Kinross. Are these facilities really compliant with Perth and Kinross Council’s development plans and environmental protection objectives? In the case of Murthly, it is proposed to place the poultry facility about 500m from the local primary school and approximately 1.2km directly upwind for our village.

There will always be a risk of fugitive emissions, human error and faults in “normative-scenario” modelling associated with such facilities. There will always be those more vulnerable to such hazards, particularly the young and the old. We do not need more ammonia, particulates, pathogens, HGV’s, foul poultry smells, or fictional promises of good employment opportunities when reality is usually zero-hour contracts, minimum wage, and cheap imported labour who struggle to make ends meet. Also, negative reputational damage to tourism, a mainstay of our local economy, may result.

The River Tay SAC (Special Area of Conservation) and SSSI’s (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) surround our village. We are also located close to the beautiful village of Dunkeld, the Gateway to the Highlands. The risk of run-off from the poultry farm into streams and eventually into the River Tay cannot be eliminated, only mitigated. Harm to wildlife in general will also remain a risk that cannot be eliminated. Science, algorithms and computer modelling have limitations. Covid 19, SARS and similar illnesses express that reality, and there is still limited understanding of such pathogens, their mutations and adaptability.

Scientific and technical arguments cannot defeat a system with a default approval history. Only voices of disapproval can do so.

Save our beautiful Scottish Highlands and countryside from further harm. Stop this mindless environmental assault and halt the introduction of more bio-hazards into a world already impacted by Covid 19. Add your voice and signature to our petition now.

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