Major retailers including Tesco and Ocado have defended trading practices at a meat supplier an animal rights group has accused of abusing chickens.
Animal Equality investigated eight different chicken farms across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire run by Moy Park and said it had obtained undercover footage showing animals being deprived of water and chicks being crushed by hand.
A spokesperson for Moy Park said that they were treating the matter “very seriously” and that an investigation was being conducted.
All eight of the farms at the centre of the allegations by the animal rights group are Red Tractor certified and operated by Moy Park. A spokesperson for Red Tractor said: “All of the farms in the footage were investigated by us and stakeholders partners including their vet, the APHA and Trading Standards to ensure there was a comprehensive account of farm practices.”
It said there was “no evidence” to breaches of legal requirements.
A spokesperson for Tesco said: “We require all our suppliers to uphold high animal welfare standards. We were made aware of this footage earlier this year and immediately investigated. The farms shown have been inspected by veterinary experts, local authorities and regulators. Where issues were found, Moy Park has implemented measures to ensure the required high standards are met.”
In a statement, Ocado said it was committed to the highest levels of animal welfare and worked closely alongside its suppliers and other industry professionals to ensure these standards are adhered to.
“All of our meat and dairy products meet the Red Tractor farm assurance standards (or international equivalent). Following an investigation by the APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) we are satisfied that this footage is not reflective of the practices at Moy Park and this is supported by evidence from veterinary experts.
“We are confident that this supplier adheres and enforces the high welfare standards that are expected across our industry but will continue to monitor this situation closely.”
Michelle Baxter Wickham, corporate outreach manager at Animal Equality UK said it was calling on companies to eliminate abuses by signing its Better Chicken Commitment.