Southfield Farm near Louth investigated over 'stench'

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Media captionThe farm has almost 3,000 cattle, prompting concerns from animal welfare campaigners

A cattle farm in Lincolnshire is being investigated over complaints of an "overpowering stench".

Southfield Farm in Louth is home to almost 3,000 cattle but residents say the smell makes them feel sick.

East Lindsey District Council said it was investigating after dozens of complaints, and that its findings would be published "imminently".

Southfield Farm's owner Andrew Laughton said he was looking at ways to tackle the issue.

In a statement, Mr Laughton said: "This is a farm, and we will never be able to eliminate smell, but looking forward we want to address reasonable concerns so we have recently instructed our environmental consultants to find ways to further reduce smells."

James Gilbert from East Lindsey District Council said: "We have had quite a number of complaints about the odour and we are deciding on the best course of action.

Image caption Animal welfare campaigners say conditions for cattle at the farm are "inhumane"

"We are pulling together our findings and will know which course of action we will be taking within the next few days."

Rebecca Maltman, who lives near Southfield Farm, said she struggled with the smell.

"It's not a farm smell, it's an absolute stench. It's very overpowering and it really does make you feel quite sick."

The investigation comes at the same time as allegations from an animal welfare group which claims cattle at Southfield Farm are being kept "inhumanely".

'Successful inspections'

Jonty Whittleton, Compassion in World Farming's (CiWF) senior campaigns manager, said: "They [the animals] are often in quite deep mud, there is a lack of dry resting areas and a lack of overhead shelter.

"This is not a humane way to keep animals. When our investigations team got on site [in September], they heard them coughing which implies there are some physiological problems," he said.

In response to the allegations, Mr Laughton said: "At Southfield Farm we have an absolute commitment to animal welfare and sustainability.

"We have regular contact with and (announced and unannounced) visits from Defra, Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), Trading Standards, Rural Payment Agency, Red Tractor and other farm assurance audits and, of course, our customers.

"Our cattle are tested for hormone and drug residues by Defra as is the industry norm. All these regular inspections have been successful."

A CiWF spokeswoman said the group would be pushing for a full investigation.

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