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Somme farmer wants farm with nearly 40 000 chickens

A chicken farmer in the Somme wants to open a huge breeding farm containing almost 40 000 chickens, in an area where a “1 000 cow farm” has already caused controversy.

If successful, the chicken farm would contain exactly 39 999 chickens, according to the farmer behind the scheme, to avoid the public enquiry that would be legally required for a project involving 40 000 chickens and over, reported local news source France Bleu Picardie.

The local Mairie (town hall) of Hailles, as well as the neighbouring communes of Thennes, Moreuil and Thézy-Glimont will hold a public consultation from September 11 to October 9, via an open register through which any concerns or problems can be raised.

Local residents have reportedly been unhappy with the level of secrecy that has surrounded the project thus far, they claim, with some saying neither the farmer in question nor the town hall has been especially communicative about the impact the project will have on the area - including smells, building work, noise, and traffic.  

After the end of the public consultation, the prefecture of the Somme will make the final decision on whether to grant permission for the project.

The plans come barely two years after a controversy over a “1 000 cow” farm erupted in the same region, in which a cow farm that was authorised to hold just 500 cows was found to contain well over 800 animals, not including veal calves.

Although the farm was largely seen as positive - in that it produces low-cost milk, and even sells the cows’ methane gas as electricity to EDF - its size drew controversy and concern for the animals’ welfare.

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