UK Farm Whistleblower Accuses Lidl of Animal Cruelty in Shocking Footage

Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 06:30 am

Lidl has been accused of animal cruelty following footage captured by an employee of a chicken farm in Lincolnshire which is linked to the supermarket chain. The video, released by animal protection charity Open Cages, shows animals being run over and crushed to death during transport, with workers admitting it is ‘part of the job’.

Tom Herok, the source of the footage, has spoken out against the ‘widespread animal cruelty’ in the UK chicken industry, following a High Court dismissal to ban Frankenchicken farming. Open Cages has filed a criminal complaint against the farm for breaches of The Animal Welfare Act and The Welfare of Farmed Animals and WATEO (Welfare Of Animals During Transport) Regulations.

The publication of the footage has sparked the hashtag #LidlChickenScandal trending on Twitter, with over 5,000 consumers expressing their outrage at Lidl. This is the fifth video in recent months to question the supermarket’s chicken welfare claims.

Mr Herok documented his employment at the farm between July and September 2022, using a hidden camera. The farm manager is heard revealing that the farm supplied Lidl. From his first day of employment, Mr Herok was warned he would see birds being ‘run over’. Workers repeatedly referred to the practice in advance, commenting ‘it’s part of the job and can’t really be avoided.’

Workers are seen collecting dozens of eviscerated birds from inside the recently emptied barns, which have been killed by a forklift during transport. Some of the animals were found still alive with severe injuries, such as broken legs and open wounds exposing their internal organs.

In a statement with Open Cages, Mr Herok commented: “There is widespread animal cruelty within the UK chicken industry and retailers are hiding that from us. On numerous farms supplying retailers like Lidl I not only saw animals being carelessly crushed to death. I saw first hand the daily struggle of a Frankenchicken. It was my job to put thousands of them out of their misery.”

TV presenter and animal advocate Chris Packham called the footage ‘disgraceful’ and has also called on Lidl to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC). The BCC is a set of improved chicken welfare standards backed by the RSPCA and supported by the UK Government.

Lidl denies the claims, commenting: “The farm and supplier in question does not supply Lidl. We take animal welfare extremely seriously and have long been committed to increasing welfare and traceability standards throughout our supply chain.” However, Lidl’s own documents list 2 Sisters as a supplier and footage from Open Cages shows chicken meat produced by 2 Sisters on sale in Lidl stores under the ‘Birchwood’ label.

Connor Jackson, Co-founder of Open Cages, said: “Lidl claims to have cut ties with this farm. But that won’t solve the problem. These are the exact, ruthlessly intensive, and poor conditions on practically all Lidl chicken supplier farms because that’s what Lidl demands in its own policies. That’s why we have seen identical scenes of animal suffering in Lidl’s chicken supply chain all across the UK and the world, regardless of the company or region. This will continue behind the scenes until Lidl adopts Better Chicken Commitment standards.”

On Wednesday 21 June, 2023, Lidl faced a global meat scandal as footage showing animals being run over and crushed to death during transport was released by animal protection charity Open Cages. The footage, captured by an employee of a chicken farm in Lincolnshire linked to Lidl, sparked the hashtag #LidlChickenScandal trending on Twitter, with over 5,000 consumers expressing their outrage.

Tom Herok, the source of the footage, has spoken out against the ‘widespread animal cruelty’ in the UK chicken industry, following a High Court dismissal to ban Frankenchicken farming. Open Cages has filed a criminal complaint against the farm for breaches of The Animal Welfare Act and The Welfare of Farmed Animals and WATEO (Welfare Of Animals During Transport) Regulations.

TV presenter and animal advocate Chris Packham called the footage ‘disgraceful’ and has also called on Lidl to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), a set of improved chicken welfare standards backed by the RSPCA and supported by the UK Government.

Lidl denies the claims, commenting: “The farm and supplier in question does not supply Lidl. We take animal welfare extremely seriously and have long been committed to increasing welfare and trace

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