PLANS to farm up to 64,000 hens on a farm near Kilgetty were given the go-ahead from county planners on April 9, despite a 25,000-strong ‘outside interference’ petition against it.

Gareth Curtis of Langdon Enterprises Ltd, Langdon Farm, sought to build a free-range egg laying unit on the farm site, adding 32,000 laying hens to the existing 32,000 free-range hens on site.

It is expected some 50,000 eggs would be produced by the site with 64,000 hens.

The application had attracted a 25,000-name petition from controversial animal group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who said: “A proposal has been submitted for the expansion of a ‘free-range’ egg farm in Pembrokeshire that would condemn an additional 32,000 gentle birds at a time – on top of the 32,000 already imprisoned there – to a life of misery and inevitable slaughter.”

An application for an Environmental Permit for 64,000 birds has been granted by Natural Resources Wales.

The proposed poultry building for the further 32,000 hens was supported by both Begelly/Kilgetty and East Williamston community councils, with the only objection being the 25,000-strong petition.

Concerns raised by in the letter accompanying the petition included: air quality and health concerns from chicken waste, extra traffic from the increased size.

At the April Pembrokeshire County Council planning committee, agent Ian Pick told members the existing farm had operated for five years with no complaints, and the application had no local objections.

“What we do have is a very interesting letter from an American vegan organisation which has 25,000 names attached to it. Having looked at it, they’re not identifiable people, as 25,000 people, just 25,000 names.

“I have a similar application in Market Drayton in Shropshire which has the same 25,000 people objecting to it.”

He added: “They are opposed to the keeping of animals for food production,” adding: “This is contrary to the ethos of PETA, they are purely interested in not farming livestock.”

Local member Cllr David Pugh, moving the application be, said there were no local concerns raised.

He added: “I’ve looked at the petition, I couldn’t see anyone locally, and there have been a lot of comments on Facebook about, how shall we say it, ‘interference in local issues’.