22 Dec Shocking footage shows “Turkeys eaten alive” on award-winning Essex farm
Animal Equality, a leading international animal protection organisation, today released scenes of extreme suffering and cannibalism on an award-winning farm that supplies ‘English Rose’ turkeys to high-end retailers such as COOK and The Great British Meat Company, as well as many local butcher shops and pubs including the Youngs chain.
- Birds who are unable to walk being pecked and eaten alive by their flock mates.
- A failure to perform the legally required daily checks to identify sick or injured animals, leading to prolonged suffering and slow death for some birds.
- Multiple birds with severely infected wounds on their heads and eyes that were left untreated.
- Some had gone blind.
- Crowded sheds without adequate enrichment for these inquisitive animals, causing the birds to peck each other out of boredom and frustration.
- Birds who had their beak tip cut off with a hot blade, a painful mutilation performed without anaesthetic.
- Dozens of dead birds left to rot among the living, some for so long they were reduced to just skeletons.
After viewing the footage from Hubbard’s Farm in Essex – Grove Smith Turkeys’ main site –Animal Equality’s UK Director, Dr Toni Shephard, said:
“The sight of injured, sick and crippled birds suffering inside crowded sheds – with those who didn’t survive left to rot amongst the living – would break even the Grinch’s heart. Yet these harrowing scenes are from an award-winning brand marketed as ‘prestigious’ and ‘high-welfare’. It’s time consumers were told the terrifying truth about their Christmas turkey.”
She added, “Awards and accolades don’t prevent animals from suffering in the meat industry, but consumers can. Delicious, meat-free Christmas meals are now widely available in shops and restaurants across the UK.”
Animal Equality investigators made multiple visits to the farm between 21st November and 2nd December after receiving a tip-off about poor conditions. Hidden cameras left running for eight days inside one shed showed that the workers were not checking the birds every day – as required by law – resulting in some birds enduring prolonged suffering and a slow death from untreated injuries. All of the footage has been passed to the RSPCA, Essex Trading Standards and Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency.