Unhygienic conditions At the end of the fattening period, the floor can hardly be seen any longer as it is completely covered with chickens—this is very stressful for the animals. Under natural conditions chickens spend half the day moving around in small groups and looking for food. In the crowded sheds they have no ways to occupy themselves, and not even daylight. Almost all their needs and natural behaviors are ignored.
Due to the high stocking densities and since the litter is not changed, the floor is soiled with feces, the hygienic conditions are alarming. The footage shows a chicken with an inflamed cloaca, most likely caused by wet, soiled litter.
Inappropriate ways of killing: Chicks only a few days old are pressed against the holding bars of the drinking trough to break their necks. This killing method is not legally approved and is very likely to cause avoidable pain as well as a slow death.
The chicks are thrown into a bucket while still wriggling. Actually, the workers would have to check if they are really dead, or wait until they are.
Update 7/3/2023: New evidence photos reveal that Lidl GB not only has an animal welfare problem, but a communication problem too. The discounter had assured the newspaper Daily Mirror that it is no longer supplied by the horror farm and its operator. Recent photos, however, clearly show that Lidl GB continues to sell chicken meat from the meat company owning that farm. Activists have found several chicken meat packages of the discounter’s brand »Birchwood« marked »GB 2037« in British Lidl stores. All slaughterhouses in the UK are allocated unique four-digit codes that must be displayed on the packaging. The number found on the chicken packages at Lidl is allocated to a slaughterhouse in Lincolnshire belonging to the company that also operates the horror farm. Hence, the meat shown on the photos undoubtedly comes from the supplier that Lidl GB claims it is not supplied by (anymore).
Overbreeding: Despite higher "animal welfare" standards in Austria, the chickens used suffer from their genetically encoded explosive growth. In the pictures you can see how massive the young chicks are. A few days later, many chickens are sitting on the floor with their legs splayed and partly dislocated. The unnatural growth of their chests and legs strains and damages their bodies, especially their bones and joints. Many animals struggle to get up on their own.
Killing in violation of animal welfare laws:The footage shows workers killing sick and injured chickens in a brutal and ineffective manner. Several times, chickens are seen being held by the head and tossed around to break their necks. A worker pushes a chick against the holding bars of the drinking trough to kill it. Another worker hits a chicken lying on the ground with a pole. The workers observed here do not check whether the animals are actually dead. It can be assumed that, with these illegal methods, they are not always dead immediately, meaning that some chickens have to suffer for some time before they finally die.
Careless handling of chicks: After arrival, the chicks are literally thrown out of the transport crates. They might be injured in the process.
Illegal killing methods: Employees repeatedly slam sick or injured chicks against a bucket in order to kill them. The investigators also documented that in one bucket, a chick that was still alive was sitting on top of a pile of dead birds that had apparently survived this treatment. It can be assumed that some chicks suffer severely injured for some time before they finally die.
Kicking, throwing, beating: While loading the chicks on the trucks to the slaughterhouse, the workers throw the chickens, kick them around like footballs and stuff them into transport cages. One scene shows a worker hitting a chicken. This handling causes unnecessary pain and suffering to the animals and is thus a clear violation of European animal welfare law.
Sick and dying animals: The footage shows various sick animals, including with beak injuries. Due to overbreeding, poor housing conditions and brutal handling, the chickens suffer from diseases and injuries that are not treated by veterinarians. The farms calculate that about 5 % of the animals die before slaughter. This is also indicated by the many dead animals in the recordings. One worker says that a dog chained outside next to the barn gets two to three dead chickens to eat every day.
Overbreeding: The photos show broilers with splayed legs that move awkwardly. The reason for this is that these chickens have been bred for fast growth, ignoring welfare problems. Especially the thigh and breast muscles are extremely enlarged ("chicken thighs" and "chicken breast"). This leads to diseases and injuries.
High stocking densities in barren sheds: The sheds are crammed with chickens. The animals are not able to retreat and have barely any material to perch or pick. Performing their natural behaviors is hardly possible.
High stocking densities in barren sheds: The footage mostly shows the sheds a few days before slaughter, the floor completely covered with chickens. The animals have no possibility to retreat. Under natural circumstances, chickens spend half the day moving around in little groups searching for food. Packed by the thousands in sheds like this, they suffer from permanent stress and agonizing boredom.For improved conditions to have an effect, the breeds need to be checked for good welfare. Otherwise, the heavy chickens—some of whom suffer from extreme physical impairment—cannot make use of any additional space or pecking material.