These Aren't Just Any U.K. Chicken Farms …
This harrowing footage was captured in chicken sheds on two separate farms that exclusively supply Marks & Spencer, a major grocery chain located in the United Kingdom. In the U.K., these animals are raised in a manner described as “high welfare,” a term that Americans may know better as “humanely raised.” No matter what you call it—or what continent a farm is on—there is no such thing as “happily” or “humanely” raising chickens for slaughter.
These farms in the U.K. counties of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire supply chickens for Marks & Spencer’s Oakham line. An eyewitness visited them on multiple occasions—and uncovered sickening cruelty every time.
On its website, the company tries to reassure customers about where this meat comes from: “Marks & Spencer is committed to the highest standards of animal welfare.”
Do These Look Like High-Welfare Standards to You?
These farms keep tens of thousands of birds in enormous sheds with little natural light. As the birds grow larger, they have less and less space. This is standard practice in the poultry industry.
They spend their entire lives indoors, never feeling the warmth of the sun or getting a breath of fresh air. The sheds are barren, apart from rows of feeders and water stations and a few bales of straw.Yet referring to the Oakham chickens, Marks & Spencer claims the following on its website:
“The environment in which the birds are housed is enriched to encourage bird movement and activity.”
Rotting Corpses and Desperately Ill Birds
The shed floors were strewn with the bodies of dead chickens. In some cases, birds were packed in tightly with these corpses and had to clamber over them to reach food and water. Many other birds were missing feathers or had severe injuries.
Chickens raised for meat are bred to grow so large so fast that their legs often can’t support their weight. The video shows crippled birds struggling to stand up and unable even to hobble over to reach food and water.
At both of these farms, bins full of dead chickens were also seen outside the sheds.
“High-welfare” and “humanely raised” meat is a myth. Labels designed to reassure customers often mean nothing on the ground—such as on farms like the ones in this video, where hundreds of thousands of animals spend their entire, short lives.
After enduring this misery, these chickens’ throats are slit when they’re around 6 weeks old.
Help Chickens by Not Eating Them
If you want to help chickens, please don’t support the industry that treats them this way. Choose vegan foods instead of meat.