United Poultry Concerns April 22, 2002
Undercover Campaigners Expose Factory Chicken Suffering
 
NEWS RELEASE
Monday 22nd April 2002 - For Immediate Use

Chronic pain. Crippled. Dying. These were the conditions of the chickens, some as young as 13 days old, which Advocates for Animals undercover investigators filmed inside two randomly-chosen intensive Scottish farms 'growing' chickens for industry leader Grampian Country Foods.

Grampian is the UK's leading independent agri-food business and supplies all major supermarkets. It claims to have quality standards that are "second to none" and that it is "resolutely committed to the highest standards of bird welfare". However, pressure group Advocates for Animals is challenging Grampian's standards and commitment to bird welfare by releasing video footage showing:

  • Crippled birds barely able to walk
  • Birds with red-raw balding patches
  • A pile of dead birds lying alongside living birds

Grampian produces 240 million chickens each year, nearly a third of the annual UK total of about 800 million. The vast majority of these birds are factory farmed, with 'crops' of up to 40,000 birds carpeting the huge windowless evil-smelling sheds. Selective breeding for faster and faster growth rates of the valuable body muscle has led to very young birds suffering from widespread health problems such as painful leg disorders and acute heart failure. Over 100,000 birds die each day before they reach the slaughter age of just 6 weeks - many from painful, distressing conditions.

Grampian's 4.6 million birds 'grown' each week equate to about 6,000T of chicken product. With concerns about both animal welfare and food safety throughout the broiler chicken industry, Advocates is sending copies of their footage to all major supermarket chains and suggesting that it is in the best interests of both human and animal health that they insist on more acceptable welfare standards..

Advocates for Animals Campaigns Director, Ross Minett, today hit out at Grampian's 'high welfare' claims: "We have exposed the reality of intensive farming that Grampian, with their 'wholesome' image, would like to keep hidden behind the closed doors of their factory farms. We believe people will be sickened by the suffering that we have exposed on this randomly-chosen chicken farm. We filmed birds which we believed were suffering chronic pain. Some were hobbling, stumbling around and falling over.others barely able to walk.others were dead or dying - all in the name of cheap food. Modern day factory farming is big business. Animals are viewed, and therefore treated, as units of production, not sentient creatures capable of suffering. If cats and dogs were treated in this way, people would be outraged - and quite rightly so. Supermarket buyers should be questioning whether this treatment of animals is acceptable to both them and their customers. Living birds next to a pile of dead birds must surely pose a health risk. As usual, it is not just the animal that is paying the price for cheap mea, but also the hapless consumer."

This latest investigation comes hot on the heels of Advocates for Animals' recent exposť of a rat-infested Scottish pig farm.

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors: Advocates for Animals' footage was filmed inside: Raw Camps Farm, Almondale Farm (1/4/02) and Hillside Farm (3/4/02) - West Lothian, Scotland.

For video footage, photos, interviews or further information, call Advocates for Animals' office on 0131 225 6039. Our out of hours call Campaigns Manager Ross Minett on 07946 517 585 or Director Les Ward on 07971 590337.

Yours sincerely
ROSS MINETT
Campaigns Director
Advocates for Animals
10 Queensferry Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH2 4PG
Tel: +44 (0)131 225 6039 Fax: +44 (0)131 220 6377
www.advocatesforanimals.org.uk

United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
757-678-7875
FAX: 757-678-5070
www.upc-online.org

(Undercover Campaigners Expose Factory Chicken Suffering)

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