Lincolnshire

Activists find Lincolnshire farm chickens in ‘horrifying conditions’

Undercover activists have revealed how chickens bred on three Red Tractor certified farms in Lincolnshire are living in what they describe as “horrifying conditions.”

Footage was recorded earlier this year at Saltbox, Ladywath in Spilsby and Mount farms, which all breed chickens on behalf of Moy Park.

Animal Equality UK’s video shows how baby chickens lay dead on the floor for days, many chickens suffering from leg injuries with some unable to stand.

The group have made no suggestion that Moy Park has broken the law but have passed on the footage to the relevant authorities.

The farms are all Red Tractor certified.

Red Tractor is a farm and food standards assurance scheme. Its standards include environmental enrichment for the birds such as bales, boxed, perches and pecking objects.

It also states sick and injured birds must receive prompt attention and those that do not respond to treatment should be properly and safely euthanased.

Ladywath Farm, one of the three which was investigated in Lincolnshire, is made up of three double-decker sheds with each shed home to 63,000 birds.

It has recently applied for planning permission to build a fourth shed.

The Guardian also reportedly discovered independently, before the footage was released, that Red Tractor had visited the same farms and found that they were “failing to meet its minimum standards” for animal welfare.

Photo: Animal Equality UK

Animal Equality’s UK Director, Dr Toni Vernelli, said: “As our appetite for chicken meat has grown, so has the size of Britain’s chicken farms.

“Images of distressed birds in giant double-decker sheds will be a shock to many consumers who buy British, Red Tractor-certified meat thinking they can trust its animal welfare standards.

“Yet the truth is, the unnatural conditions chickens are forced to endure in these vast sheds are utterly dismal. One meal for us equals a lifetime of misery for them.”

Photo: Animal Equality UK

Moy Park is the country’s second biggest chicken company and supplies products to major retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Co-op and Ocado.

A spokesperson for Moy Mark said that they have robust processes in place to monitor the welfare of their chickens.

They said: “We have a zero-tolerance attitude toward anything that jeopardises the health and welfare of our birds and we are fully investigating these allegations.

“We have robust processes in place to carefully monitor the welfare conditions for our birds and we have regular independent audits, taking corrective action with our farming partners if required.”

Lincolnshire Reporter also contacted Red Tractor for a comment, but they were unavailable at the time of writing.