Animal rights activists have crashed a council website with a co-ordinated campaign to bombard it with letters objecting to plans for a controversial 'mega farm' in the Norfolk countryside.

Several national organisations, including PETA, are encouraging supporters to oppose proposals to create two industrial-scale farms in Methwold which will house 870,000 chickens and 14,000 pigs.

Food giant Cranswick says the twin schemes - which would create one of the biggest livestock farming sites in the country - will be a "sustainable, modern farm" that will help deliver affordable produce, create jobs and boost the local economy.

But campaigners are trying to derail the 'factory farming' scheme, which they claim will undermine animal welfare.Eastern Daily Press: An aerial view of the area in Methwold where the two farms would operate fromAn aerial view of the area in Methwold where the two farms would operate from (Image: Google)

PETA has urged followers to write to West Norfolk Council to object and has also launched a petition which has since gained more than 37,000 signatures.

Other campaign groups that have become involved in the opposition include Compassion in World Farming, Scrap Factory Farming and Four Paws UK.

More than 5,200 people across the country have now written letters of objection to West Norfolk Council. The volume has been causing the authority's online planning portal to fail.

The objectors - from as far away as Cardiff, York and Oldham - are using a 'standard letter' which raises several concerns about the farm plans, including pollution risks, the climate impact and the increase of HGV traffic.

READ MORE: Quorn attacks farm plans for Norfolk village

Eastern Daily Press: The farms could operate close to the village of MethwoldThe farms could operate close to the village of Methwold (Image: Denise Bradley)

PETA's vice president Elisa Allen said: "From the increase in traffic to the knowledge that millions of sensitive pigs and chickens would be suffering inside filthy sheds nearby, the proposed facilities would be a blight on Norfolk’s neighbourhoods – as well as its reputation.”Eastern Daily Press: Alun Ryves, councillor for MethwoldAlun Ryves, councillor for Methwold (Image: Newsquest)

The project has also faced a huge amount of backlash from locals and even vegetarian food giant Quorn, which has a factory nearby.

Methwold district councillor Alun Ryves said he hoped locals' views would not be lost amid the wider interest.

"This is a national issue so it is no surprise people across the country have become involved but the council has done a good job in differentiating between locals and other objectors outside the county." 

A decision on the scheme has been delayed after Cranswick applied for an extension of time and it is now expected to be debated by councillors in the late spring or early summer.