Driving over animals with a forklift, chickens bred to grow so fast their legs break, birds torn open and left alive in agony – these cruel scenes were documented by an employee of a chicken farm in Lincolnshire in 2022. We present to you a new investigation that we have published in cooperation with the Daily Mirror.
Birds crushed to death -“It’s part of the job.”
Tomasz Herok – a teacher in philosophy at the University of Lancaster – worked for 5 months in the UK chicken industry last year. His aim was to document the reality of intensively farmed ‘Frankenchickens.’ But what Tom found went beyond expectations…
In the footage collected by Tom on a farm supplying Lidl, he discovers how the chickens are being illegally and routinely ‘run over and crushed to death during transport.’ Fellow farm employees are filmed admitting that the birds are not only being eviscerated under the tyres of a forklift and handled violently, but that this abuse – which breaks multiple animal welfare laws – is ‘part of the job and can’t really be avoided.’
Fast growing chickens – “I had two in that [shed] with broken legs.”
These are the words of Tom’s fellow employee. Deformed bones, heart attacks, piles of bloody, rotting bodies… Throughout his time on the farm Tom filmed the brutal suffering of fast growing Frankenchickens. Workers admit that the goal is to make the birds grow as fast as possible. But the animals pay the price.
“I had to snap their becks with my bare hands.” Tom recalls the experience with horror. Fast growing chickens have just 6 weeks to reach slaughter weight. They’re selectively bred to grow so fast that their muscles, bones, ligaments and organs fail to cope.
So Tom’s daily routine – like all chicken farm workers – was to look for sick birds and kill them. Chicks dying from starvation, overgrown birds flapping their wings in panic, lame chickens in agony… Tom’s footage reveals the every day misery of a chicken destined for Lidl.
#LidlChickenScandal – Lidl faces global backlash
This is not just about this one farm. Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria and now the UK… footage from 5 different countries shows the exact same cruelty and abuse in Lidl’s chicken supply chain.
That’s because the suffering is systemic. Retailers like Lidl are tolerating ruthlessly intensive chicken farming practices.
In order to change the fate of hundreds of millions of animals, we need to push for systemic changes. To fight for improvements, not only in the UK but throughout the world. These investigations have proven that the suffering of chickens is identical throughout Lidl’s chicken supply chain.
We can’t change it all overnight, But there are steps that retailers like Lidl can take to drastically reduce the amount of suffering these birds face.
One of those steps is stop the sale of Frankenchickens. By using only slower growing breeds of chickens, the birds grow more slowly and naturally. Their bodies are better able to develop.
Another one of those steps is to end the overcrowded conditions. By giving the bids more space they can exercise more freely, suffer less burns from their waste, and be at reduced risk of being carelessly run over.
This is the Better Chicken Commitment. Over 500 companies across the world have signed up. Even Lidl France has. But Lidl GB is refusing to act.
Open Cages has filed a complaint against the farm to the local authorities for breaching multiple animal welfare laws and regulations. But we don’t believe the abuse captured in this shocking footage can be eliminated without systemic change.
Sign the petition and help change the fate of animals.