An animal rights charity has awarded Powys County Council the title of 'worst in the UK' – but the authority says it is only acting within national guidelines.

Peta, one of the world's largest animal organisations, said the local authority has earned the award for approving more than 150 intensive chicken farms during the past five years.

The charity has called on Powys Council to reject further "chicken prisons" being built in the county, which has been dubbed the "poultry capital of Wales".

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In a response, Powys County Council said the national planning system means it is legally bound to consider planning applications based on their individual merits.

Peta director Elisa Allen said: “Christmas is coming early for the members of the Powys County Council, and they’re on the naughty list.

“Peta is calling on them to offer a little peace on Earth and goodwill to all by rejecting all future requests for more chicken prisons.”

The National Wales: A Peta anti-chicken farm poster in the Berriew Street car park in Welshpool.A Peta anti-chicken farm poster in the Berriew Street car park in Welshpool.

A spokesperson for Powys County Council said: “The number of applications being made in Powys compared to other parts of the country reflects the large land mass of the county – it covers a quarter of Wales – its rural nature, the importance of agriculture to the Powys economy and the need for farming businesses to diversify.

"The council has a statutory duty to consider applications that are submitted based on their individual merits."

Peta letter to council

In a letter sent to council members on Tuesday (December 21), Peta said: "More than eight million chickens are currently suffering in Powys, yet you continue to rubber-stamp even more applications for cruel, intensive chicken farms.

"It’s been made clear that no one wants to live next to – or on – these farms. In January, desperate Powys residents crowdfunded their legal bills and took you to court. But still you continue to give farms the green light.

"In case it’s escaped your notice, mega-farms are environmentally destructive, both locally and globally.

READ MORE: George Monbiot calls for river conservationists to stop eating chicken

"Not only is animal agriculture one of the leading causes of climate change but local rivers are also turning into 'pea soup' from all the manure, chemicals, and other muck associated with these facilities.

"These mega-prisons are also a nightmare for animals.

"Now, the UK is facing its worst-ever outbreak of bird flu, putting Powys at high risk of being a hotspot for the disease. Industrial farming is a stain and a drain on the planet – one that sullies our reputation as a nation that cares about animals.

"We hope that next year, you’ll act with compassion and consideration and stop dishing out planning permission for these cruel, filthy farms."

Bird flu was confirmed in early December on a mixed poultry premises near Crickhowell, south Powys, and at a Herefordshire farm located six miles from Presteigne.

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