Wisconsin, USA: The withdrawal of the proposal for a US-style mega-dairy in Lincolnshire, England, is a huge victory for the many people and organisations that put so much into stopping this unwelcome style of dairy farming coming to the UK. And writing from Wisconsin, having just seen the US mega-dairy on which the Nocton proposal was based, I am able to appreciate still further what this victory means. It is a victory for Britain’s human-scale dairy farmers, for dairy cow welfare, for the local community in Lincolnshire, and for the environment. It is also a victory for the future integrity of our milk.
The campaign brought together a broad and diverse range of people and interests; foodies, environmentalists, animal welfarists, family farmers, local people and more. It was this very diversity that made the campaign so strong. And it points to future winning strategies; that the campaign to end factory farming need not, and should not, be solely about animal welfare, hugely important though it is. It speaks to the fact that factory farming all too often threatens our environment, our public health and the quality of our food. And that these linkages are increasingly being recognised. They are increasingly motivating people. There is now huge opportunity to mobilise against factory farming in a way that engages people on their terms, their interests; and it need not always be about animal welfare. These wider concerns can often be more powerful. Indeed, in the case of the Nocton proposal, it was the objection by the Environment Agency that appeared to prove the knock-out blow.