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Chickens Deprived of Water on Farms Operated by Known McDonald’s Supplier


Undercover filming at eight Moy Park farms reveals hundreds of birds suffering agonising deaths each day.

Animal Equality has today released distressing scenes of severe animal suffering on eight British chicken farms across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. All of the farms are certified by the Red Tractor assurance scheme and operated by Moy Park, one of the UK’s largest chicken producers. Moy Park supplies the fast-food chain McDonald’s, as well as supermarkets such as Tesco and Ocado.

The troubling footage, captured covertly by an Animal Equality undercover investigator, reveals:

  • Chickens deprived of water as drinkers are routinely raised to a height that they are unable to reach;
  • Hundreds of chickens suffering agonising deaths each day as workers painfully crush the chicks’ necks in their hands;
  • Chickens developing raw skin burns on their feet and chests from filthy, urine-soaked floors; 
  • Chickens bred to grow so big, so quickly, that they suffer from excruciating leg injuries and are unable to carry the weight of their own oversized bodies;
  • Chickens crammed into immensely overcrowded barns, barely able to move or stretch their wings.

The filming took place in late 2019. The footage was passed on to Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency, the RSPCA and Red Tractor in early 2020.

Business as usual

These concerning scenes are reflective of an industry that values profit over animal welfare. Chickens raised for meat have been selectively bred over time to grow extremely large, incredibly quickly. As a result, many of them suffer from weak hearts, lungs and legs, their bodies burdened by the strain of their unnaturally heavy bodies. After all this, they’re killed when they’re little more than one month old.

Despite McDonald’s closing its doors earlier in the year, the chain’s supplier, Moy Park, has continued business as usual. Although it saw one factory worker tragically die in May from COVID-19, it has publicly stated that it does not expected to be “significantly impacted” by the pandemic. According to the company’s latest accounts, Moy Park saw revenues of over £1.5 billion in 2019, with reports of “strong financial performance” and with Chief Executive, Chris Kirke, receiving a salary of £700,000.

Not the first time

Concerningly, two of the farms investigated have been the centre of previous serious animal welfare complaints.

Animal Equality filmed similarly poor conditions when last year, we filmed inside Mount Farm, along with two other Moy Park farms. The investigation, released in June 2019, showed chickens crammed into gigantic sheds, in obvious pain from leg and breathing difficulties and being forced to live amongst rotting carcasses. It’s clear that neither Moy Park nor Red Tractor took the animal suffering we found seriously.

In July 2019, thousands of chickens were found to have died at Kettlethorpe Farm due to a sweltering heatwave and lack of appropriate ventilation.

Unrelenting greed

Upon reviewing the footage, Abigail Penny, Executive Director of Animal Equality UK, said: “These poor chickens never stood a chance. Moy Park’s actions are consistently underpinned by profit; this is a company that spends an eye-watering £700,000 on a CEO salary, yet instructs workers to kill vulnerable chicks at just a few days old, simply because they’re no longer considered profitable. Moy Park’s greed is unrelenting.”

She added: “McDonald’s, Tesco, Ocado and others buying from this supplier are refusing to show even the smallest ounce of mercy to these innocent chickens. Consumers appalled by these practices can try vegan and do better by chickens today.”

You have the power to make a difference for chickens. With every meal, you can spare them from a lifetime of suffering. Please, leave chickens off your plate today – visit our website to get started.

Demand change for chickens

McDonald’s claims it cares about animals, but the poor chickens who suffer for its nuggets and McChicken Sandwiches don’t stand a chance. Many of these innocent animals were even denied water ­­– a basic necessity.

Sign Animal Equality’s petition calling for McDonald’s to eliminate some of the worst abuses for the chickens in its supply chain:

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