Campaigners allege hundreds of chickens are “suffering agonising deaths each day” at farms run by a UK supermarket supplier – although the company says it complies with animal welfare standards.
Animal Equality said undercover filming showed “severe suffering” at farms in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
Chicken supplier Moy Park said its sites had been investigated and no major breaches had been found.
Supermarkets said they were confident that standards were being met.
It is the second time that Animal Equality has carried out a covert investigation at Moy Park’s farms in the past couple of years.
The group’s executive director, Abigail Penny, said: “Our footage was incredibly shocking and very harrowing.”
An undercover investigator captured footage from eight farms operated by Moy Park, which is one of the largest suppliers of poultry products in the UK.
‘Agenda in mind’
Animal Equality said the footage showed chicks deprived of fluids because the water provided was positioned too high for them to reach.
Chickens were described as being “bred to grow so big, so quickly” that they suffer leg injuries and struggle to walk, while workers were accused of using their hands to “painfully crush” birds’ necks, killing them.
Ms Penny added: “We also found incredible overcrowding; the chickens could barely move.”
Moy Park said that after receiving the video an investigation was launched by its own team of “veterinary experts” who found that “despite the examples highlighted” birds were “displaying natural behaviours and appear in good health in the majority of footage”.
A spokesperson “The farms featured have also been investigated thoroughly by local authorities and regulators and no major breaches were identified.
“This particular footage is edited with an agenda in mind and we are confident that it is not reflective of the high standards and certified practices upheld across our wider farming community.”
Tesco and Ocado both said they were confident that the supplier met the necessary welfare standards.