Protesters target Morrisons over chicken farming conditions
Protesters dressed as butchers have targeted Morrisons stores across the country, accusing the supermarket of sourcing chicken meat from intensively farmed poultry.
Animal welfare campaigners from Open Cages and The Humane League UK descended on nearly 20 Morrisons supermarkets, including branches in Glasgow, Bradford and West Sussex.
They held up billboards and displayed distorted images of “Frankenchicken”, demanding their removal from the retailer’s shelves.
Open Cages claimed the supermarket continued to source the vast majority of chicken meat from birds genetically modified to grow 400% faster than normal.
Morrisons said all of its regular chicken is raised above Red Tractor standards and it actively monitors any malpractice in its supply chain.
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Last year, an undercover shoot revealed chickens collapsing in their waste at four farms supplying Morrisons welfare-backed Butcher’s on Market Street meat label.
Connor Jackson, CEO of Open Cages, said: “About 30% of Frankenchickens can barely walk because they can’t support the immense weight.
“Millions of these monstrous birds are dying of heart attacks because they can’t sustain growing 4 times faster than normal, millions more have their necks snapped just to put them out of their misery.”
Morrisons said procedures are now in place to “significantly reduce” the chance of problems in the footage occurring in the future.
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Over 300 companies across the UK and Europe have signed up to the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), meaning that by 2026 they will only be selling slower growing chickens reared with significantly more space of life.
Sainsbury’s recently pledged to stop sourcing chickens under crowded conditions for any own-brand meat by 2023.
Open Cages added that M&S, Waitrose, KFC and Subway were among hundreds of companies to have already pledged to stop selling “Frankenchickens”.
Morrisons said it is committed to offering a range of chickens that meet all nine BCC standards.
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A spokeswoman for Morrisons added: “We care deeply about animal welfare.
“All of our regular chickens are raised above Red Tractor standards; we are also the only retailer in Europe to ask our fresh chicken suppliers to require chicken to be born in the barn it will be raised in by 2025.
“80% of our fresh chicken already meets this standard. We also actively monitor any malpractice in our supply chain; we will never tolerate it or look away and if we ever find it, we will act quickly and decisively.”
A recent YouGov poll found that 78% of Britons oppose the use of farming practices that hurt animals in order to produce cheap food. A majority strongly opposes it.