Part of the Boischaut Sud, this area between the Inner and Cher, has been wondering for weeks: will the pigsty between Feusines and Pérassay expand? At the moment, the decision is in the hands of the prefect of Indre. A public inquiry commission has already issued a positive opinion on the matter. The prefecture has until about mid-July to decide.
A pigsty that can accommodate up to just over 9,000 animals
The project is led by Philippe Van den Broek, a farmer who already heads a pigsty with 4,000 animals. The extension could accommodate up to 9,225 animals for that purpose “selling almost 15,600 pigs a year”, according to the permit application submitted. In addition, the methanation unit will also be expanded, with the creation of two partially buried concrete tanks of 5,000m3. The expected methanation tonnage is 17,200 tonnes per year.
“This project worries us because of its size”
An extension that raised questions and concerns among residents of the area : Feusines, Pérassay, Sainte-Sévère-sur-Indre, Lignerolles, Urciers. They created a collective: “No to the megagris path from Feusines-Pérassay”.
“This project worries us because of its scope“confides Anne, a member of the collective. The fear mainly concerns three points: risks of leaks from the anaerobic digestive unit, which would degrade the groundwater table, a project that consumes too much water, and an attack on animal welfare.
Fear around the biogas plant?
In terms of the methanation unit, residents highlight an incident that took place in 2020 in Brittany that had temporarily deprived 180,000 residents of water, as well as a response from the Ministry of Ecological Transformation indicating an “increase” in related incidents. “last five years”. Local residents are also wary of the ecological benefits of anaerobic digestion.
A question that Philippe Van den Broek does not understand. “The biogas plant produces green energy. It will ensure the equivalent of the consumption of 1,200 households in Berry“emphasizes the breeder whose family has lived here for more than 50 years.”I want to be challenged around large vessels, and in my case I have just put large vessels to be able to control the timing of the dispersal of the digestive water. We will consume local grain products, we process agro-food to feed them to the pigs, so we also participate in the waste treatment … In terms of CO2 footprint, we are extremely efficient.“
Too much water consumption?
Another point put forward by the opponents, the water consumption in the new pigsty, estimated between 15,000 and 20,800 m3 / year. “The water situation in our department is already alarming. When we see the amount of water that would be used, we can worry“Anne sighs.
“I contacted the services concerned, namely SIVOM from Sainte-Sévère“answers the breeder.”They assured me that they could supply the quantity I wanted to use. I left the skill to those who have it. I was told ‘You can use’, so I built the file in that format.“
The issue of animal welfare
“We must torture 15,000 pigs, produce poor quality pork, all this to eventually produce gas via methanation. It is not logical“torment Henriette, another member of the collective.”These pigs will be bred in rooms of 0.75 m2, on gratings, over a manure pit. These are not normal conditions for making quality meat “ regrets this resident.
During his visit to the farm, Commission of Inquiry noted “animal welfare (is) complied with and in accordance with the requirements“concerning the animals already reared on the spot. In its replies to the same Commission, the breeder states that”ventilation“maintenance”clean and dry“, from “manipulable materials“added in boxes”to meet the pig herd“, or exact medical follow-up are all elements that ensure animal welfare.
It is also specified:Breeding on slatted floors nevertheless brings many benefits together, allowing for a controlled environment and often to do without antibiotics (in this case on the fattening part), which is less true under other breeding conditions.“
Split elected representatives
Concerns about this expansion of the pigsty also share local elected officials. The municipal council of Feusines, a small village of 200 inhabitants, voted an unfavorable (advisory) opinion, with five votes against, three in favor and two abstentions. “This type of industrial project does not correspond to the values of rural areas“says the mayor of Feusines, Patrick Charasson.”Yes, agriculture is our primary economy in this area. But for decades we have been working under reasonable and reasonable conditions. The industrialist has no place in our sector. “
“I’m not a financier”
Remarks that annoy Philippe Van den Broek. Its operation employs five people. The expansion would make it possible to hire two more. “I create value in our small area of South Berry, I still challenge all those who are in our small rural area today to create jobs “ point the breeder. “I hope that all those who will oppose my cause will also fight to create jobs in the area.”
More generally, the farmer rejects this term, which is considered negative “industrial agriculture”: “In the industry, in the craft, when it works well, we are very happy that the structure is growing. In agriculture, when a person has the skills, the means and the desire to develop, it is fish.“
“I’m not a financier” continues Philippe Van Broek, also chairman of the UGPPC, the association of pig groups in the Center Val de Loire region. “I love what I do, I’ve been doing this job for 25 years. What interests me, beyond the technical aspects of the case, is living here. That is all we are capable of developing. I think we have things to improve, of course. Agriculture has never stopped developing and improving.“
And as for the expansion of pig stables, which are causing stir elsewhere in France, it is, according to the breeder, inevitable. “There are many administrative and technical constraints today to be able to establish a pork production site, even as small as it is. “
“We use technical means, which may seem enormous, but it is precisely to be able to affect the environment as little as possible. Smaller farms will not have the financial means to introduce technical measures to protect the environment, which are required by French law. So do not be surprised , if the projects that come out only come out below a minimum size equivalent to mine.“
The decision is therefore in the hands of the prefect of Indre. In the event of a positive opinion, the collective “No to the mega-pig farm Feusines-Pérassay“does not preclude an appeal.