Judicial protests against developers of a cow and pig farm

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Maghtab Survey of 1967Four families residing in the hamlet of Maghtab, in Naxxar, have filed two judicial protests against the developers of a cow farm (PA 8129/05) and (PA 05926/08) and a pig farm (PA 03694/03), the director of Animal protection, Promotion and Services, the Director of Lands, The Director of Environmental Health, and the Malta Environment and Planning Authority calling on them not to issue any permits required for the operation of the farms and holding them all responsible for ALL damages present and future which they may suffer as a result arising from the presence and operation of these farms.

These farms will be either touching or within 100m from the homes of these residents, whose properties have been constructed long before any industrial animal farm was constructed in this area . (See attached MEPA 1967 survey photo). The locality of Maghtab is currently littered with abandoned farms or farms that have been converted to other uses.

The hamlet of Maghtab is considered an “inhabited area” as per the Central Malta Local Plans, and the granting of such permits will put the lives of the residents in danger and will deprive them from the enjoyment of their homes. Further more, these families claim that these permits will discriminate against them just because they live in a rural area.

The applicants, Mary Muscat, of Wistin Muscat and Sons Limited, currently operating a huge pig farm at Tal-Ballut, Manikata on the road to Ghajn Tuffieha and a commercial Animal Feed mill in Maghtab, and Frankie Azzopardi, who currently is operating a cow farm on Triq il-Buskett in Rabat, have been granted outline permits on 10th April 2008 and 27th August 2008 respectively, whilst a full development application has now been submitted for the cow farm. Both farms will be taking up fresh public agriculture land.

The public is now well aware that viruses such as the current swine fever that is spreading globally and the recent cases of bovine tuberculosis in southwest England and other counties, are capable of jumping species, that is, from animal to humans and back representing a major treat to the residents apart from other issues normally associated with and arising from the operation of such farms when operated in such proximity to residents, thus the reason why all farms are being relocated or closed down from inhabited areas.

The irony of all this is that both applicants are using the excuse that these farms will be build to EU standard and that most probably will be using EU funds.

The photo shows the Maghtab Survey of 1967.

John Portelli

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