Coningsby

Rapid growth chicken collapse under their own weight at Lincolnshire farm

Undercover animal rights activists have released more “horrifying footage” from inside a Lincolnshire farm, where chickens seem to be bred at rapid rates.

Warning: Some viewers may find the images below disturbing.

Open Cages went inside Barr Farm, operated by Moy Park near Billinghay, and recorded video which appears to show animals collapsing under their own weight.

The breed is known as Ross 308 and can take as little as 35 days to reach full maturity, ready to be sold onto supermarkets as meat.

Photo: Open Cages

It is growing in popularity at farms across the world, but animal rights activists claim that they endure painful lameness and even heart failure.

Veterinary Professor Andrew Knight said that the farm has “a number of meat chickens with serious mobility problems.” He also added that the footage was “consistent with significant pain.”

Photo: Open Cages

Activists from Animal Equality UK also recorded video of chickens living in “horrifying conditions” from inside Saltbox, Ladywath in Spilsby and Mount farms earlier this year.

They all breed chickens on behalf of Moy Park and are certified by Red Tractor. Moy Park insisted in a statement that the welfare of their birds was their “highest priority.”

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

A company spokesperson said: “Following a robust assessment of the farm and a review of the footage by an experienced veterinary surgeon specialising in poultry, we are confident that the birds are displaying natural behaviours and have normal feather coverage and skin colouration for their development stage.

Photo: Open Cages

“Our farms are regularly inspected by external vets and industry bodies. If any issue with the care of our birds is identified it is addressed promptly in line with welfare procedures.

“All recent independent audits have shown this farm upholds high welfare standards. We continually monitor our farms to ensure these standards are adhered to and all our internal audits are independently validated.

“Unauthorised access, such as this, to farm buildings breaches biosecurity standards and can cause unnecessary risk and stress to our birds.”

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

Open Cages CEO Connor Jackson. “Despite vague PR statements of ‘taking welfare seriously’, footage of animals collapsing under their own weight is uncovered practically every week.”