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Potentially deadly germs are thriving in the sheds of Lidl suppliers.

In tests performed on 142 chicken samples taken from Lidl's store brands in five countries, a laboratory found antibiotic-resistant pathogens in every second sample.

You can change this: Sign the petition now and stop Lidl's irresponsibility.

This is the bitter reality of what chickens have to go through for Lidl:

Chickens breaking down. Workers mistreating chickens. Sick and injured chickens suffering visibly... crammed together by the thousands in bleak sheds.

Miserable husbandry conditions mean that dangerous germs thrive in the sheds. So say NO to animal cruelty committed for Lidl. Become active now. Sign the petition.


An independent laboratory tested a total of 142 chicken products of Lidl's store brands from Germany, Poland, the UK, Spain and Italy.

The 24 German samples were of the »Metzgerfrisch« brand and were labeled as Haltungsform 2 (»Stallhaltung Plus«).

The results

50 % of all samples were contaminated with antibiotic-resistant germs. These can cause urinary tract infections, pneumonia or blood poisoning, for example, which can also be fatal.

The laboratory found faecal bacteria (E. coli and/or enterococci) in 75% of the samples. These germs are indicators of contact between the meat and the intestinal contents of the animals. They can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, blood poisoning and other organic diseases.

33 % of the samples were contaminated with listeria. An infection with listeria can cause serious damage to unborn babies, including miscarriages, and in people with a weakened immune system can lead to serious illnesses, many of which are fatal.

28 % of the samples tested positive for campylobacter which can cause diarrhea and even paralysis.

The laboratory found salmonella in 9%of the samples. In severe cases, these can lead to blood poisoning, for example.

Dangerous pathogens from the barn

Pathogens spread quickly in sheds full of thousands of overbred, stressed and sick animals in a confined space, as is the case with Lidls chicken suppliers. The extensive use of antibiotics also promotes antibiotic resistance: As all animals are treated in the event of illness, non-resistant germs die off. The resistant bacteria survive and multiply.

krankes Huhn

Antibiotic resistance: The »silent pandemic«

More than 35,000 people die from antimicrobial-resistant infections in the EU/EEA each year. These infections are a major risk especially for immunocompromized people, the elderly and children. They can also make routine treatments and operations more difficult.

»I would advise my patients not to buy these Lidl chicken products. [...] In the event of unfortunate circumstances – pre-existing illness, antibiotic administration for other reasons, an injury or surgery – they can become a serious health threat.«Dr. Imke Lührs, specialist in internal medicine and former expert in the Bundestag, member of the board of »Ärzte gegen Massentierhaltung« (Doctors against factory farming)

Place of recording: Lower Saxony, Germany
Date of recording: Between July 2022 and August 2023
Found in the following Lidl products: Fresh Chicken of Lidl brands »Metzgerfrisch« and »Grillmeister«

Animal welfare grievances revealed:

About a year after the cruelty towards Lidl’s chicken was first revealed, the company has not changed its poor welfare standards.

Overbreeding: The footage shows many chickens that can no longer stand on their legs, some of which are grotesquely twisted. This is caused by malpositions, slipping of the vertebrae (spondylolisthesis), leg weakness (tibial dyschondroplasia) or other developmental disorders—consequences of »high performance breeding«. The thigh and chest muscles of the animals grow so fast and massively that their bones and organs cannot keep up. As can be clearly seen in the pictures, the chicks which are only a few weeks old, already look unnaturally bloated. Those who cannot stand any more die of thirst because the drinking troughs are regularly raised. The video shows an underdeveloped chicken that is no longer able to reach the drinking trough. In one scene, a chicken is suddenly seen lying on its back and flapping its wings wildly—most likely it is suffering from a fatal heart attack also caused by overbreeding. We can also see abdominal dropsy (ascites), recognizable by the bulging rear ends of some chickens.

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.

Mistreatment: Weak and sick animals usually die a slow and agonizing death. The »lucky ones« are found by workers and »emergency killed«—without veterinary treatment. In the video, workers can be seen holding flapping chickens by the head and putting them into buckets while still alive. This clearly contradicts the law requiring the death to be as stress-free and painless as possible. Loading can also be seen in the footage: Workers literally dump the newly hatched chicks onto the floor of the shed, risking broken bones and other injuries in the tiny animals. Before being taken to the slaughterhouse, the chickens are thrown into the transport cages or across the shed, and kicked around. No one checks to see if the animals get caught in the bars or are otherwise injured in the process.
Dead animals everywhere: On average, about five percent of the chickens on a farm die before they reach »slaughter age«. With group sizes of 10,000 or more chickens, this means hundreds of dead animals. As the video reveals, many deceased chickens are overlooked and slowly decompose in the litter. For the living ones, this poses a significant health risk. The staggering chicken seen in the footage is believed (it shows no signs of deformity) to be suffering from botulism (a form of poisoning) which is often the result of contact with dead chickens.

Place of recording: Lincolnshire, England
Date of recording: Summer of 2022
Recorded by: Whistleblower Tom Herok
Found in the following Lidl products: Fresh meat of Lidl’s store brand »Birchwood«

Animal welfare grievances revealed:

Chickens recklessly run over: A worker tells Tom Herok on hidden camera that the running-over of chickens happens routinely and cannot be avoided. This is not true, of course. Inflicting avoidable pain and suffering on animals is a criminal offense.
The footage shows several dead or horribly injured chickens suffering unbelievably and simply left lying around. Animals, both dead and still alive, partly crushed and torn beyond recognition, are picked up and taken away in wheelbarrows. In or in front of the shed, they are then thrown onto piles or the bed of a pickup truck.

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.

Produced in masses and having no value as individuals: The worker also tells Herok that particularly small animals are undesirable because the farm would have to invest in feeding them without being able to generate the desired meat yield. Also chickens who have difficulties walking because their legs hurt (due to overbreeding, see below), are to be killed immediately, because they will not grow fast enough.
This way of thinking and acting is typical for factory farming but does not look good on any company that supposedly cares about »animal welfare« like Lidl says it does.
Overbreeding: In this British farm—like in all the other farms–-overbred broiler chickens are used. The animals become so large and heavy within the short fattening period (about six weeks) that their bones and organs can no longer keep up. This can be seen clearly in the videos: Several chickens have one or both legs stretched far away from them, in some cases completely twisted, and are no longer able to walk. This is an indication of malalignments and deformities of the extremities which are typical consequences of the massive growth. At its worst, these animals will die of thirst because they can no longer reach the drinking trough.
One worker tells Herok on hidden camera that animals can also die from choking or heart attacks. Footage shows several chickens lying on their backs and wriggling wildly. Violent flapping can indicate a heart attack.
High stocking density, sore spots: The farm where the footage was taken is »Red Tractor« certified. This »quality label« allows stocking densities of up to 38 kg per square meter. Depending on the weight, that means 14 to 26 chickens. Accordingly, the footage shows extremely crowded sheds where the floor cannot be seen as it is completely covered with chickens. This is especially true at the end of the fattening period when the chickens (actually still chicks) have reached their slaughter weight. The worker describes that the lack of movement makes the animals even sicker.
To make things worse, the chickens often suffer from ammonia burns caused by the feces-soiled floor. The whistleblower holds up chickens with bald chests and black spots on their feet to the hidden camera—signs of ammonia burns and contact dermatitis.

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).

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Products tested: 51 chicken meat products of Lidl’s store brands »Metzgerfrisch« (label »Stallhaltung Plus«)
Origin of products: eight randomly selected Lidl stores in Oldenburg (Lower Saxony), Paderborn (North Rhine-Westphalia), Bautzen and Leipzig (Saxony), Eisenach (Thuringia), Fellbach and Ostfildern (Baden-Wuerttemberg)
Dates of sampling: January and February 2023

The results

  • 71% of the samples were contaminated with antibiotic-resistant germs. The laboratory detected the enzyme ESBL in the affected samples. This enzyme renders bacteria immune to commonly prescribed antibiotics. The majority of ESBL-carrying bacteria on the samples taken at Lidl were Escherichia coli-type intestinal bacteria.
  • 25% of the samples contained enterococci. These indicate contamination with fecal matter. Once outside the intestines, enterococci can become very dangerous.
  • 18% of the samples were contaminated with Campylobacter. Infections with these intestinal bacteria can lead to fever, diarrhea or, in rare cases, neurological diseases accompanied with paralysis.
  • Salmonella was found on one sample. It can cause diarrhea and even sepsis.
  • Only 6 samples were inconspicuous.

Dangerous germs originating from farming chickens for Lidl

In sheds cramped with thousands of sick animals in a closely confined space, as is the case with the sheds of Lidls chicken suppliers, pathogens spread quickly. The substantial use of antibiotics promotes resistance to them: In cases of single disease oftentimes all animals are treated. This kills the non-resistant germs while resistant bacteria survive and multiply.
»This situation is catastrophic. Using terms like ›housing plus‹ or ›animal welfare‹is downplaying the actual conditions in animal farming. What we need are completely new approaches for breeding, husbandry and feeding«, says
Dr. Rupert Ebner, veterinarian and former vice president of the Bavarian Chamber of Veterinarians

Antibiotics resistance: The »silent pandemic«

In Germany, 45,700 people die each year with antibiotic-resistant germs and another 9,650, due to them. While it is true that resistant bacteria do not necessarily lead to diseases or even death, they do pose a major risk, for example, for immunocompromised people, senior citizens and children. Even for a person infected with resistant germs who does not become ill, routine treatments and operations may become more complicated.
»The point is also that a typical urinary tract infection makes it necessary for an otherwise healthy little girl to stay in hospital for several days because oral antibiotics are no longer effective«, says
Dr. Imke Lührs, specialist in internal medicine, former expert for the German Bundestag and board member of Doctors Against Factory Farming

Resistant germs: dangerous for us all

Antibiotic-resistant germs can be spread on chicken meat. Although heating kills the germs, extreme caution is still required during preparation.
Dr. Imke Lührs goes on to say, »I like to compare the hygiene required in the kitchen with working in surgery. There, concentration and absolute care are required, which I don't think can be maintained in everyday life.«

Place of recording: Steiermark, Austria
Date of recording: Summer of 2022
Farms belong to: Johann Titz GmbH

Animal welfare grievances revealed:

Chicken run over by tractor: The footage shows chickens being run over by a tractor during loading. The run-over animals flap their wings wildly. They must have been in unbelievable pain and were apparently left to die from their injuries.

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.

High stocking density, unstructured barns: Despite somewhat lower stocking densities in Austria, footage shows chicken being crowded. They are unable to retreat or to meaningfully engage in pecking, perching or dustbathing. Thousands of them are forced to live next to each other in a single barn.
Sick and dying animals: In the Austrian barn, as in barns in Germany, Spain and Italy, suffering animals were found lying on their sides, bellies or backs in need of help. The numerous chicken corpses show that many of them are not helped and instead die unnoticed in the barn.

Place of recording: Lombardy, Italy
Date of recording: Summer of 2022
Farms belong to: AIA - Agricola Italiana Alimentare S.p.A. (Gruppo Veronesi)

Animal welfare grievances revealed:

Rough handling of chicks: The sheer mass of the animals and the conditions of factory farming easily make people forget that each chicken is an individual capable of suffering. In the video, workers can be seen hurling chicks just a few days old out of transport crates, sometimes onto other chicks already on the ground. Another worker appears to toss a chick several feet through the air. One chick became apparently trapped under a drinking trough and died there.

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.

Sick and dying animals:Many chickens suffer visibly: lying on their sides, breathing heavily, and behaving apathetically, among other things. The footage of chickens twisting their heads unnaturally is particularly disturbing. Many chickens have feces smeared around the cloaca, an indication of diarrhea. No veterinary care is provided, at all. Sick and injured animals are »emergency killed« as described above, or die in agony if left undetected. Unless helped in time, supine animals unable to get back on their feet also starve to death. The footage reveals several animals that had died undetected. An average loss of 5% is factored into the farmers’ calculations.sind in der Hühnermast fest eingeplant.
Overbreeding: Chickens raised for meat are bred for massive growth which their bones and organs can no longer keep up with. Particularly, their thigh and breast muscles are extremely enlarged (»chicken drumsticks« and »chicken breasts«). The video shows animals moving about clumsily. Some of them have their legs stretched forward or to the side and are apparently unable to get up. Among other things, this may be due to leg and back deformities.
High stocking densities in barren sheds: Again, it is obvious that the chickens have to spend their short lives packed by the thousands and closely confined with no possibility to retreat and suffering from boredom. This way, they can hardly perform their natural behavior.

Place of recording: Villamanrique de la Condesa, Spanien
Farm operator: Grupo Sada und Pavo y Derivados (Padesa)

Animal abuses revealed:

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.

Place of recording: Lower Saxony, Germany
Date of recording: Summer of 2022
Can be found in the following products: Fresh chicken for Lidl’s German store brands »Metzgerfrisch« and »Grillmeister«

Animal welfare grievances revealed:

Overbreeding: The footage shows mainly one month old broiler chickens. They can hardly move anymore. Some animals are no longer able to get up from lying on their backs; others are lying on their bellies or sides. The animals grow so fast that they are also called Frankenchickens. Their thigh and breast muscles grow unnaturally large to produce bigger »chicken drumsticks« and »chicken breasts«. As a result, their bones and organs can hardly support the enormous weight. Many suffer from pain and deformed bones. Some even die of cardiac failure.

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.
Sick and dying animals: The footage shows several chickens with twisted necks, while others are not able to stand on their legs, lie dying on the floor or suffer from diarrhea or diseases of the cloaca. Overbreeding, high stocking densities, being forced to constantly lie in their own excrement and permanent stress make these chickens especially prone to disease. But the animals are usually denied individual veterinary care. As a result, an average of 5% of the animals die excruciating deaths or are killed even before reaching slaughter age. These deaths are factored into the farmers’ calculations.
Rough handling: The footage shows workers picking up dead chickens in the shed. When doing so, they also pick up sick and injured animals, who flap their wings in panic. Some of them are stunned or killed right there in the sheds by the workers, who break their necks or strike them; others are carried from the shed while still thrashing around. At least one chicken is still moving after having been thrown onto a wheelbarrow full of dead chickens. Also, a worker can be seen urinating in the shed.

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