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Gloucestershire Business News

EXCLUSIVE: Giant Cotswold mural triggers farming row

Amid ongoing debate over what constitutes regenerative agriculture, one Cotswold farmer is hoping that a picture will paint a thousand words – and it is no small picture.

Farmer Alex Jones is seeking backing from planners for a 180 SQUARE METER depiction of a rural scene, portraying pigs and sheep grazing in sunny meadows against a rolling Cotswold landscape, as a illustration of "regenerative agriculture".

Approval of the spray-painted artwork, on the west face of a grain store at Longlands Farm in Mickleton, could act as a potential landmark for visitors to Gloucestershire – as a gateway to the county, the village is its most northerly settlement.

So far, one letter has been sent to back the art project. Tetbury resident David Hindle told planners that he believed no permission would be required if the paint was directly applied to the building.

He said: "Suffice it to say, that either it does not require planning permission, or it should be welcomed, given the creation of a visually attractive Mural."

But Bristol-based vegan campaign group Viva!, which campaigns to raise awareness of animal rights, has swiftly condemned the project as a betrayal of what true farming entails.

Laura Hellwig, Viva! Managing Director, told "I was dismayed to see this planning application come through, and I urge Cotswold planners to prevent this.

"The artwork is a falsification of regenerative animal farming, claiming to be a picture of idyll when the reality is that farming meat, dairy, fish and eggs is destroying the planet and is a leading driver of climate change."

She added that the proposed design, which features pigs roaming outdoors, clashed with the reality of pig farming: "the majority of pigs in the UK are factory farmed, with 88% getting painfully gassed to death".

She said: "Viva! supports all farmers who want to transition to veganic, arable farming, and urges them to do so immediately in order to save the planet and save animals."

Planners have asked the applicant to submit details of any biodiversity implications at the first instance before a decision can be made.

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