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Television star and animal rights activist Ricky Gervais joins thousands of people to sign a petition against plans for a rabbit farm at Rutland Water

Campaigners including television star Ricky Gervais have signed a petition against a Grantham area business's plans to create a rabbit farm at Rutland Water.

The site at Lyndon Top Farm would house up to 250 does and breed 10,000 rabbits each year.

T&S Rabbits, based in Corby Glen, has proposed similar schemes at sites in Cornwall and Buckinghamshire.

Rabbit. Photo: istock
Rabbit. Photo: istock

Speaking in The Mirror, Mr Gervais said: “Britain doesn’t need rabbit meat and fur farms, we don’t need to find new ways to exploit animals for our stomachs or our wardrobes.

“If these plans go ahead it will mean thousands of baby rabbits bred and taken from hundreds of mother rabbits who are treated like breeding machines.”

T&S Rabbits has been operating free-range farms since 2010, selling meat and live animals.

Although fur farming has been banned since 2003, the law allows it to be sold as a by-product of the meat industry, and the T&S website features a range of accessories priced up to £600.

The petition was launched after the company applied for planning permission to build a temporary timber cabin and an agricultural building on the Rutland site.

Animal rights campaigners from across the world have contacted the council to express their objections.

Emily Wilson, a spokesman for Four Paws UK, said: "It is incredibly worrying that in this day and age there have been any applications for a rabbit farm. That one individual has applied for three separate farms, is even more alarming.

"We successfully campaigned for many years to remove intensively farmed rabbit meat from appearing in pet food on supermarket shelves but worry that these applications will undo that hard work. Furthermore, the applicant’s website references fur sales which goes against what we as a global animal welfare organisation believe."

Other people have highlighted how the farm would spoil the scenery, particularly as Rutland Water is a site of special scientific interest.

Robert Bromilow, of Lyndon Road, Hambleton, said: “There would appear to be no logical reason why this activity, which requires a large shed, should have to be in such a sensitive location, when it could be virtually anywhere in the country.”

The owner of T&S Rabbits, Philip Kerry, has been contacted for comment.

However, in The Mirror he was reported as saying: “Welfare of animals is a priority.

"Fur is secondary to meat production – we don’t slaughter animals for pelts, that would be illegal.

“We used to throw pelts away but it doesn’t make financial sense as they have a value and it shows honour to the animal to use every part. I know there’s opposition but, in my view, it’s hollow and doesn’t really mean much.”

Click here to view the application in full.

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