Huge Andalusian pig farms threaten expat health and poison groundwater

Published:  2 Apr at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain, UK, England
Expats in Andalusia fear massive pig farms are poisoning local water supplies.

The development of intensive pig farming in Spain’s popular retirement destination is causing worry and distress to British expats living in the region. Over the past several years, giant agrifood company Grupo Fuertes has sited pig farms holding millions of animals all across the Spanish provinces of Granada and Almeria, with locals and expatriates now concerned about the cancer risks of pig slurry seeping into local underground water aquifers. Expatriates living all across the region are now scared about the safety of their underground water supplies, as local governments don’t ensure all communities are supplied with treated municipal water.

Founder of one local action group Nicky Lawson told local media that residents rely heavily on underground water which can be easily contaminated by carcinogenic run-off from the storage pits on the farms. The pits themselves hold the slurry, allowing it to become concentrated and even more dangerous to human health. Green protestor group Ecologistas en Accion have already filed a complaint with the governing junta regarding the fate of the local colonies of rare birds including endangered Red Kites, all of which depend on groundwater. One London expat and his partner living 40m from a pig farm which is now being doubled in size told reporters the farm is a blot on the landscape which wouldn’t have been allowed in the UK. When asked for a statement, Grupo Fuertes declined to comment.

Pig slurry has long been recognised as being harmful to human health, as it contains pathogens, staphylococcus aureus bacteria, antimicrobials, antibiotics, phosphorus, ammonia and nitrogen, all of which when introduced into groundwater make it unfit to drink. Humans living in close proximity to large pig farms can develop infections, respiratory diseases, cancer and other illnesses, especially if tainted water is being used and consumed. The nitrogen in the slurry can also cause acid rain, and the unpleasant odour from the farms is known to cause hypertension and high blood pressure.
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