A controversial plan to breed rabbits for meat in Stafford is back on the menu – after developers appealed against an original rejection.
Stafford Borough Council received 17,000 objections after PETA and supporters came together to start a petition against the farm plans last year.
The proposal includes building the hutches on land opposite the school house and farm buildings on Radmore Lane, Gnosall, near Stafford.
The proposal has been put together by POE Limited, a traditional Romanian food market company.
Speaking about the original plan, Calin Poenariu, of POE Limited, said: “We believe it is important to provide such a great tasty meat to UK market.
“Further, rabbit by-products such as skins, can be put to good use.
“The skins are used in the making of mittens and gloves as the fur is very fine thus naturally warm.
“Our goals in short term is to set up a rabbit multiplication and breeding farm and marketing our live rabbit, rabbit meat and other by-products.”
However, the original application was refused planning permission on a number of grounds, including the inability to demonstrate the farm would not cause soil, air, noise and water pollution or disease.
But now the company has lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate, sparking calls for a protest.
The plans also include delivering live rabbits to customers, delivering meat to restaurants, and rabbit manure to farmers.
Rabbits will be bred on-site, before being slaughtered ready for packaging.
There are ongoing social media campaigns and petitions to stop the plans going ahead after the company appealed in February.
Alina Muntean, for POE Limited, told StaffsLive: “We believe we were misunderstood by PETA and by the public with regards to animal welfare.
“Before we submitted the application we had done some research about the law and regulations on Rabbit Welfare.
“As a business trading for nine years in UK and paying taxes, having 40 employees all residents in Staffordshire area, we don’t feel we have been treated fairly.”
Daniel Cardy, of the Planning Inspectorate, said: “The application was refused by the council after a local and national public outcry.
“More than 900 objections were sent to the council, with further objections delivered in the form of two petitions that garnered close to 17,000 and 10,000 signatures each – the largest response to a planning application the council has ever received.”
“Fur farming is illegal in the UK under the Fur Farming Prohibition Act 2000.”
A spokesperson for PETA said: “People in Staffordshire have made it very clear they don’t want to see cruel rabbit farms established in their area.
“We saw people power into action when we helped get this application rejected last year.
“Please, take a stand once more by signing our letter to the Planning Inspectorate urging it to uphold the decision that this inhumane farm should not be built.”