Thousands of chickens were baked alive during last week’s UK heatwave at a poultry farm which supplies many major supermarkets.
Animal rights groups fear the chickens would have suffered horrifically before they died as the UK recorded temperatures above 38C last Thursday.
Pictures show piles of birds who succumbed to the heat outside sheds at Moy Park farm in Newton on Trent, Lincolnshire. Workers were seen piling up the dead chickens last Friday.
Workers told local paper The Lincolnite: “We tried to do everything but there was nothing more we could do. The freak weather has done this to them. Please don’t turn this into anything bad.
“It has been really tough carting these animals out of the farm over the past couple of days. Animal activists don’t think that we care about them, but we really do.”
The Red Tractor approved farm supplies Tesco, Ocado and Sainsbury’s, among many other food businesses.
According to regulations, Red Tractor farms must provide food from animals which are dealt with ‘responsibly’ and ‘farmed with care’.
Chief executive of Compassion in World Farming Philip Lymbery tweeted: “This is beyond words. They must have suffered terribly. Intensive farming of sentient animals has to stop.”
A spokesperson for Red Tractor said in a statement: “Animal welfare is our top priority and we require all certified poultry farms to do all they can to protect their birds. Record temperatures last week posed significant challenges for livestock, pets and humans alike.
“We will continue to work with the poultry industry to review how to minimise the impact of extreme weather conditions on their farms.”
A spokesperson for Moy Park said: “We are working closely with our farming partners to monitor the situation and have implemented procedures to help protect our birds against the extreme heat.”
A statement from Ocado added: “We carry out regular audits of all our suppliers to ensure the welfare of livestock is managed to the highest standards. We are working closely with our supplier to fully investigate.”
A spokesperson for Tesco told Totally Vegan Buzz: “These are distressing pictures and the approach taken on this farm does not meet the high standards on bird handling we require of all our poultry suppliers through the Tesco Welfare Approved Standard.
“Last week saw exceptional weather conditions putting the supply base under extreme pressure. We are clear that more needs to be done to prepare for exceptional risks, such as extreme temperatures, and we will be working with our supplier to do this.
“We uphold high standards for animal welfare and we expect all our suppliers to meet the recognised farm assurance standards, including Red Tractor, as well as our own stringent, industry leading requirements.”
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