Nearly 9,000 people have signed an animal charity petition against plans to build a poultry facility near Malpas.

Planning permission has been sought from Wrexham Council to build an intensive poultry installation and associated works at a farm in Mulsford, Sarn, near Malpas.

According to the plans, the development would include the construction of two poultry sheds, each having the potential to accommodate 50,000 ‘standard’ broilers – chickens raised for meat production.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – Foundation (PETA) launched a petition urging Wrexham Council to reject the plans.

The petition states: “Intensive broiler farms cause chickens immense suffering.

“As many as 100,000 sensitive and intelligent chickens at a time will be crammed into two barren sheds where they’ll be denied the chance to do anything that comes naturally to them, such as foraging, roosting, and socialising.

“They would likely be bred and fed to gain more weight than their bodies could support, leading many of them to develop crippling leg deformities and other severe health problems.

“At just a few weeks old, they would be loaded onto a lorry and sent to the abattoir, where they would be packed into gas chambers to choke on carbon dioxide or stunned in an electric water bath before their throats are slit.”

In response the applicants, D J Huxley Farms Ltd, defended the plans.

A spokesman for the company said: “The birds’ care is regulated under the Red Tractor Accreditation, which is the largest food standards scheme in the UK, and covers the following areas: animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection.

“These units are controlled by Natural Resources Wales and their environmental permit regime.

“The development is not allowed to create noise problems, odour problems etc for residents.

“The demand for these units comes from the general population for chicken meat at a price they can afford. This is how chicken meat is produced in the UK.”

A design and access statement submitted with the plans explains: “The farm business has made the decision to diversify into a poultry enterprise to support their arable enterprise. The applicant wishes to enhance the business to create a sustainable future for themselves and their young family.

“All the elements of the proposal are designed to create the minimum impact on the local landscape and to mitigate the impact where possible.”