These shocking images show the horrific abuse and conditions suffered by chickens on two poultry farms in Spain.
Both farms – in Seville and in Tarragona Provinces – are said to supply chicken to budget supermarket giant Lidl.
Undercover footage shows how animals are kicked and beaten to death at the farms.
Footage from the farm in Seville Province shows how workers throw chicks to the ground, breaking their beaks and bones.
In one shocking clip, a live chick can be seen with its insides hanging out.
Incredibly, both farms are independently certified as safeguarding optimum animal welfare.
When contacted by Newsflash, Lidl Spain condemned the images and said it had contacted its suppliers to confirm that the images were filmed on one of their farms.
It said that if confirmed, Lidl will oblige the supplier or suppliers to stop working with the farms in question.
In a statement obtained by Newsflash, the non-profit organisation Equalia said: “The NGO Equalia published an undercover investigation carried out in two mega-farms (Seville and Tarragona) related to a supplier of the German supermarket. The supplier company and the farm have been reported by the organisation for alleged animal abuse and crimes against public health.
“The investigative report brought to light by Equalia was recorded in two poultry farms, one in Andalusia and the other in Catalonia, during 2022 and 2021. The published images show bad practices in the handling of animals. Operators of the farm located in the Seville municipality of Villamanrique de la Condesa, which has almost 100,000 birds per cycle spread over 3 sheds, were seen unloading chicks by abruptly throwing them to the ground. This can result in broken beaks, limbs, sternum, bones or even death. A close-up picture shows a live chick with its entrails outside its body.
“In the days that follow, operators can be seen repeatedly slamming chickens against a bucket with the intention of causing their death, although some birds remain conscious. The management of dead birds poses a potential public health risk: at the Seville farm, a worker feeds some carcasses to a dog, while at the Catalan farm, located in the Tarragona municipality of Roquetas and consisting of two sheds, a broken container with decomposing chickens and maggots is seen exposed to the air.
“The report shows alleged violations of animal welfare regulations. During the loading of chickens for transport to the slaughterhouse, workers of one of Lidl’s suppliers throw and kick the chickens. These events are not only a serious danger to the lives of the animals, as they can lead to broken limbs, wings or sternum, but also a breach of the legal provisions for the handling of the birds. Equalia has therefore filed a complaint against the owner of the farm and the poultry producer for alleged animal abuse and public health offences. The complaints include veterinary reports demonstrating how these findings worsen the birds’ quality of life.
“The organisation stresses that deformities are common on large-scale poultry farms and are caused by genetic selection in so-called broiler chickens, which reach market weight 400% faster than they did 50 years ago. The impact of such rapid growth and disproportionate size is reflected in the extensive list of diseases that these birds are increasingly prone to suffer from.
“The farms under investigation are certified with the Welfair seal, an independent animal welfare certification whose criteria aim to ensure the welfare of animals farmed for food. As consumer demand for improved animal welfare increases, it is essential to encourage transparency beyond existing certification schemes to ensure that adequate information is shared with stakeholders – including consumers – on animal welfare practices.
“Julia Elizalde, Equalia’s campaign manager, says: ‘Just a few weeks ago an investigation into a Lidl supplier in Germany came to light, now we see the reality of two of its suppliers in Spain. The supermarket needs to move forward together with the rest of the food retail sector to ensure adequate standards of food safety, animal welfare and sustainability. Together with other animal welfare organisations we have started a campaign targeting Lidl to demand an end to the unnecessary suffering of broiler chickens across Europe.’
“Faced with these problems, the world’s largest animal welfare organisations insist on the need to implement new measures for the poultry sector. One of their initiatives is the European Chicken Commitment (ECC, Better Chicken Commitment at the UK), an agreement to which more than 300 companies in Europe have signed up, and which includes the replacement of fast-growing breeds (such as those seen in the report) with slower-growing, more natural breeds. Lidl is one of the few large supermarkets in Spain that has not committed.”
When asked to comment on the findings by Newsflash, Lidl Spain replied (translated from the original Spanish): “Lidl strongly condemns the abuse and animal mistreatment shown in the images released. The video shown is unacceptable and we express our complete rejection of this type of practice.
“Lidl has a firm commitment to animal welfare and for this reason we have already contacted our suppliers to find out if these images have really been recorded in one of their factories or farms. In the event that this is demonstrated, Lidl will require its supplier to automatically stop working with the said farm, as specified in its responsible purchasing policy, which is mandatory for all its suppliers. In any case, to this day we are not aware of any complaints against any of our suppliers or any of the farms with which they collaborate.
“At Lidl we have been promoting different pioneering projects in the field of animal welfare for years. As of today, 100% of the fresh meat, fresh eggs and milk that we sell in our stores in Spain, in addition to being of national origin, have the ‘Animal Welfare’ seal, being the first supermarket in Spain to obtain said certification for its own brands.
“Hand in hand with our suppliers, we work permanently throughout the entire supply chain to continue proposing ambitious and realistic objectives in favour of animal welfare and we implement those national and international measures that are feasible for all our collaborators and that satisfy the needs and demands of our clients.
“In this sense, we support all initiatives in favour of animal welfare, including the objectives defended by the European Chicken Commitment – which we share and on which we are already working – although we can only commit ourselves to those measures that we are sure of being able to realistically comply with both in terms of form and deadlines in each of the markets.
“In any case, and after the talks were unfortunately unilaterally interrupted by the international representatives of the European Chicken Commitment in 2021, the Lidl group is currently in contact with them to continue the dialogue.”
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Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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