Norfolk – an undercover investigation from Open Cages has revealed “significant and prolonged suffering” of chickens on Red Tractor approved farms linked with leading retailer Morrisons and Booths Supermarkets. The footage, captured in Norfolk early 2021, shows animals dying by the thousands as bodies were cannibalised and left to rot.
The companies involved
Banham Poultry, who owns and operates the Red Tractor approved farms, supplies Morrisons’ ‘welfare assured’ Safeway brand. Booths Supermarkets is also a customer of Banham Poultry.
Chickens left to die and rot
On both farms FrankenChickens were found suffering serious lameness and deformities as a result of unnaturally rapid growth. Birds can be seen keeled over, panting and flapping their wings, flailing their lame legs and collapsing under the excessive weight.
Over 4500 chickens had died prematurely in one of the flocks: a mortality rate of over 10%. Considerable numbers of dead bodies were left to rot on the shed floors and some chickens were filmed eating them.
Thousands had red, sore burns on their skin from laying in their own waste. The conditions are so crowded in their last weeks that on average, a single bird would have more space in the oven.
Dubbed “FrankenChickens” by animal welfare campaigners, these birds grow at an unnatural rate to satisfy Britain’s billion-a-year appetite for chicken. They are slaughtered at around 35 days old.
Vet Andrew Knight has said “In my opinion, many birds in [the footage] are very likely experiencing significant and prolonged suffering.”
This is our second exposé from East Anglia in recent months to reveal the cruel reality of FrankenChickens. Morrisons continued selling the controversial breeds despite major public outcry. The two investigations reveal the cold truth behind Morrisons’ empty welfare assurances.
Morrisons is at the centre of a campaign led by naturalist Chris Packham and several animal advocacy NGOs for its failure to stop selling FrankenChickens like Waitrose, M&S and KFC have pledged to do.
Only 19% of Brits think supermarkets are honest about chicken welfare. Is it any wonder why? Retail giants like Morrisons will slap on a “welfare assured” label, produce a teary eyed TV ad and say they care deeply whilst dozens of investigations reveal shocking, systematic animal cruelty happening behind closed doors.
Once again, our footage shows that a FrankenChicken is doomed to suffer. This is why hundreds of companies like M&S, Waitrose, KFC and retailers all over Europe have pledged to stop selling them. Morrisons, on the other hand, seems committed to cruelty and outdated practices. I hope for the animals’ sake that there are still voices inside the company who recognise that this cannot continue in 21st century Britain.
Morrisons must stop selling FrankenChickens. You can help these animals by signing our petition stopfrankenchicken.com