Demonstrations come after undercover investigation claimed to show fast-growing birds suffering at four intensive farms belonging to supplier
Protests have been held at more than a dozen Morrisons stores amid allegations the supermarket chain sells “Frankenchickens”.
The demonstrations were spearheaded by one of the supermarket’s own employees, Doug Maw, who says he is facing disciplinary action for taking part in the animal welfare campaign.
It comes after charity Open Cages earlier this month released video footage claiming to show images of fast-growing birds deformed and dying on four intensive chicken farms run by one of Morrisons’ main suppliers.
Protests took place at more than a dozen Morrisons stores across the UK on Saturday including in Liverpool, Manchester, Dundee, Bristol, Londres, Sheffield, Reading, Cornualha, Bognor Regis, Isle of Wight and Glasgow.
Campaigners from Open Cages, Animal Equality UK and The Humane League UK are urging Morrisons to sign the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) – a policy which bans the use of fast-growing breeds and aims to ensure birds are given natural light and more space.
The only major UK supermarkets to have signed the commitment are Marks and Spencer and Waitrose, while other firms include KFC, Nando’s, Greggs and Subway.
Connor Jackson, chief executive of Open Cages, who joined demonstrations in Sutton and Wimbledon, said the word many shoppers uttered was “disgusted” when they saw protesters holding images taken during their undercover investigation earlier this month.
“People were shocked Morrisons were doing this because they were a company that pride themselves on good values," ele disse O Independente.
The campaigner accused Morrisons of “trying to mislead the public” when it launched an “absolutely tiny range” of high-welfare poultry earlier this year.
“We believe this was intentionally misleading because we had been meeting with Morrisons for a long time and making sure they understand that the Better Chicken Commitment is a holistic initiative – it has to be 100 per cent of your supply chain, anything less than that is not good enough," ele disse.
Morrisons employee Mr Maw, who works at the supermarket’s Bognor Regis regis and joined the protest on Saturday, said he was called into a meeting earlier this year and told a social media post was “inappropriate” after he signed a petition and shared it on the supermarket’s internal Facebook group.
Morrisons denied silencing the worker, previously telling O Independente: "Na verdade, we encouraged him to post his views on Morrisons’ general colleague Facebook page, which hosts a range of discussions on a broad array of topics, rather than on our store-specific Facebook site which is focused on local and operational issues.”
In response to the Open Cages investigation, the company added: “We care deeply about animal welfare and require all our suppliers to maintain the highest standards. We have asked [the supplier] to conduct a full investigation and report back to us.”
More than one billion chickens are raised and slaughtered for their meat in the UK every year, the vast majority of which are bred to grow at an unnatural speed, reaching slaughter weight in just a matter of weeks, according to The Humane League UK.
The organisation said the birds can suffer painful lameness and even heart attacks because of their fast growth, and are raised in cramped conditions.
Vicky Bond, managing director at The Humane League UK, accused Morrisons of “severely letting chickens in their supply chain down time and again”.
“We know that UK shoppers want better welfare standards, so it’s completely out of step with public sentiment," ela disse.
“It’s high time for Morrisons to turn their backs on this cruelty and commit to the Better Chicken Commitment.”
O Independente has contacted Morrisons for further comment.