Yesterday, Open Cages and The Times published a new undercover investigation, showcasing shocking conditions on multiple UK broiler farms. The farms belong to Hook 2 Sisters and Moy Park, companies that supply major UK retailers, such as Tesco. In the footage a disturbing, yet common phenomenon can be seen – the ‘FrankenChicken’ – animals bred and designed to grow unnaturally fast.
You can see our video exposing the truth behind cheap chicken here. Warning: some viewers might find images distressing. To help us change this, please see instructions in the end of this text.
Stuck in an overcrowded shed, the FrankenChicken face serious health complications. Unable to keep up with the excessive weight gain, young FrankenChicken often endure lameness and heart failure leading to high mortality rates. In the Hook 2 Sisters farm in Devon, a wheelbarrow full of corpses was found left in the barn overnight – such is the regularity of death on these farms. A particularly heart breaking scene shows a large chicken taking approximately 17 seconds to stand.
In the story by The Times, Professor and a veterinarian Andrew Knight said that the footage showed “a number of meat chickens with serious mobility problems. One seemed to have some difficulty standing and in remaining upright. One was limping, markedly favouring its right leg. These signs were consistent with significant pain.” In another story by the Independent, Open Cages CEO Connor Jackson pointed out that “if people grew this fast, a five-year-old child would weigh 150kg.”
“These signs were consistent with significant pain.” said animal welfare professor Andrew Knight.
What is most shocking about the investigation is that these farms are not special cases of gross negligence, but represent the industry standard in terms of breed, stocking density and the welfare problems that follow. Open Cages has repeatedly asked Tesco to set the standard higher by signing the Better Chicken Commitment, but the supermarket giant has refused to carry their responsibility. In fact, while Tesco told The Times that they stopped buying from the Devon farm in our footage, they have not denied still selling chicken from the Moy Park farm in Lincoln. And when concerned customers asked about this on social media, they remained in silence.
Tesco refused to reply to people who were justifiably worried about what Open Cages and The Times revealed.
The media attention we’ve received is exceptional, so we must use the momentum to make Tesco address the suffering in their production chain. Please follow the instructions below to help us make sure Tesco won’t get away with this.
We must show Tesco that we find this unacceptable. Together, we can show that Tesco’s customers won’t accept animal cruelty. It will only take a minute of your day, but it will help us spare enormous amounts of suffering. Thank you for your help.