CALLS have been made to 'scrap' plans for a proposed rabbit farm in an area of outstanding natural beauty after nearly 40,000 people signed a petition opposing it.

The application for land on the banks of Restronguet Creek near Mylor in Cornwall has also attracted 333 public comments on the county council website, the majority in opposition.

Phil Kerry T&S Nurseries has applied to install a mobile home as a temporary worker’s dwelling and barn on land north of Tregunwith Wood, Tregunwith. If that is granted he plans to rear rabbits for slaughter there.

Rabbit Farm Resistance UK started the petition opposing the plan saying it believes there is no place in the 21st century for a rabbit farm.

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It is supported in its actions by PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation, a UK-based charity dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals.

PETA senior campaigns manager Kate Werner claims such farms condemn female rabbits to "a life of sexual exploitation" and u"p to 10,000 of their babies every year to a violent death."

“Thousands of compassionate people have spoken, and Cornwall Council should heed their concerns for animal welfare, the environment, and the health of the community,” she said. “PETA is calling for this plan to be scrapped, sparing scores of gentle rabbits a lifetime of suffering and an agonising death.”

PETA says that rabbits are playful, active animals who, in nature, spend their time digging, racing, jumping, and hopping.

"But on commercial farms, they’re prevented from engaging in these natural forms of behaviour and denied psychological stimulation and adequate food and space. They frequently display abnormal behaviour, such as over-grooming, indicative of severe anguish. Many suffer acute pain and die prematurely from respiratory or intestinal diseases," claimed Ms Werner. 

The planning application states that 'pest' control will be managed as necessary with bait boxes used for mice and rodent control and fencing for fox and stoat control

All the rabbits will be kept outdoors and waste carcasses will be disposed of by a licenced contractor on a regular basis.

The rabbit droppings will be allowed to fertilise the underlying grass. Other waste such as used bedding is allowed to compost and is used as a natural growing medium for potted trees and shrubs.

The agricultural building will be used to store hay and straw bales, food for the rabbits, machinery and tools.