Faccenda was “obviously disappointed” with the evidence it received from Animal Equality, which claimed chickens were suffering at one of its suppliers. The meat processor immediately sent an independent vet to inspect the site, it said.
A Faccenda spokesman said: “Our experience of this farm suggests that the footage is not representative of the overall standard of care. However, where there is a need for improvement in specific areas, we will work with the farmer to make sure that it happens.
“When we were notified of the allegations, we immediately assigned an external vet to visit the farm and conduct an investigation. Following his review of the facilities, and after meeting the team, he approved the farm for continued use. On this basis, we have made the decision to recommence activities on the farm, with additional monitoring and ongoing support from our vet to ensure adherence to standards and practices.”
High standards and expectations
After the investigation, Faccenda said it would use Animal Equality’s information to ensure its high standards and expectations were maintained.
The animal rights group released footage and photographs showing “suffering of chickens” on July 28. The investigators found hundreds of dead chicks being dumped into rubbish bins every day, Animal Equality said. One live chick was thrown into a wheelbarrow of dead chicks, and left there for at least an hour, it said.
Other claims included a worker kicking birds during daily checks; birds dying because they were unable to stand; and raw sores from the “filthy, ammonia-soaked litter underfoot”. Workers also rounded up birds for transportation violently, including carrying them by one leg, which was breaking the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair’s (DEFRA’s) welfare code, Animal Equality alleged.
Defra’s Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) said: “APHA takes potential breaches of animal welfare legislation very seriously and investigates all allegations. Where welfare regulations are breached, appropriate action is taken.”
Faccenda supplies retailers including Lidl and Asda, and restaurant Nando’s.
‘Investigations are being carried out’
Responding to Animal Equality’s investigation, a Lidl UK spokesman said: “Lidl UK takes the issue of animal welfare very seriously, and we have been in close communication with the supplier on this matter, whilst their investigations are being carried out.
“All of our fresh British meat and poultry is Red Tractor assured, which clearly outlines expected animal welfare and food hygiene standards. We have a code of conduct in place with all of our suppliers, with agreed expectations regarding responsible business practices, which may be audited by an independent third party at any point.”
A Nando’s spokesman said: “Animal welfare is very important to us, and we source 100% of our chickens from suppliers that meet the UK Red Tractor standards.
“We were extremely concerned to hear the report that this farm was not meeting our standards and we are conducting a thorough investigation. Nando’s will continue to insist all of our suppliers meet our strict animal welfare expectations, and is committed to only ever buying from farms that do.”
No-one at Asda was available to comment on Animal Equality’s investigation.