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THE ‘UNPROFITABLE’: Chickens at farms supplying major British markets made to die of thirst or had necks crushed

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The video shows how baby birds too small to be worth raising had their necks snapped by workers. One worker was seen crushing a bird’s neck against the metal handle of a bucket.

JANE DALTON: ‘Unprofitable’ chicks at a farm supplying Tesco, Ocado, and McDonalds were deliberately deprived of water and left to die of dehydration, an undercover investigation has found… The investigator shot the films across two months, before the coronavirus pandemic, which delayed its release… Secret filming also shows how other baby birds deemed too small to be worth raising had their necks crushed or snapped by workers, causing a painful death…

One worker was seen crushing a bird’s neck against the metal handle of a bucket… Some were left to die because they were too weak to feed themselves, it was claimed… Moy Park, which raises and kills more than 312 million birds each year, is the source of nearly a third of all the chicken sold in the UK. It is one of Europe’s 10 biggest poultry producers, supplying restaurants as well as smaller grocery stores…

An undercover activist for animal protection organisation Animal Equality, who was employed by the company, shot footage showing that at one farm workers raised the height of the drinkers every day for about 40 days, so that the smaller chicks – those considered not profitable – were unable to reach them… Abigail Penny, executive director of Animal Equality UK, said: “These poor chickens never stood a chance. Workers killed vulnerable chicks at just a few days old, simply because they were no longer considered profitable…

At two farms, workers were filmed crushing chickens’ necks in their hands so the farm did not “waste” food and water on those that would not be profitable. The investigator said that as a result, hundreds were suffering agonising deaths each day… Birds in sheds were filmed gasping for air because “their hearts and lungs struggled to cope with their unnaturally huge bodies”. Some struggled to walk, and others could not stand up…

Andrew Knight, professor of animal welfare and ethics at the University of Winchester, said: “On the basis of the existing scientific evidence, there are reasonable grounds for concern that some of these birds may have experienced periods of severe suffering prior to death”…

All the farms are certified by Red Tractor, the UK scheme that claims to guarantee high standards of food and animal welfare. And the practices, filmed at farms operated by Moy Park, one of the UK’s biggest chicken processors, flout animal-welfare law and government codes. SOURCE…

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