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MAN AT WORK: Turkeys kicked hundreds of times and left wounded at farms supplying major UK supermarkets

So-called 'workers' were seen brutally kicking helpless birds. Investigators said the footage showed birds being kicked more than 218 times while being herded.

JANE DALTON: Undercover activists at a farm supplying Sainsbury’s and Asda have said they saw workers kicking turkeys more than 200 times in “shocking scenes of suffering and cruelty”. A worker is to be suspended and an official investigation has been launched after footage showed what campaigners called “a total disregard for animal welfare”. Birds at the Red Tractor-endorsed intensive farm were also suffering painful open wounds and acute pecking injuries, video from the investigation shows.

Some turkeys suffered broken wings, and others had their wings “painfully caught in crates” as they were “carelessly trapped” while being loaded to be taken for slaughter at the farm, it was claimed. Animal-welfare charity Viva carried out a secret probe from late last month until earlier this week at three farms – one in Norfolk and two in Gloucestershire…

At a Gloucestershire-based farm that produces birds for Avara Foods, which supplies many of the UK’s supermarkets and restaurants, workers were seen “brutally kicking helpless birds”. Investigators said the footage showed birds being kicked “more than 218 times” while being herded… Footage documented many birds being “carelessly trapped”, with their wings caught in transport crates, and workers repeatedly failing to free them, “causing unnecessary suffering”…

The animal-welfare group said its hidden cameras revealed birds in barren, windowless sheds, subjected for more than three months to continuous artificial lighting with no darkness, which should last at least eight hours. “Cameras filmed for three days straight and the only time the lights were turned off was during the catching process to keep them calm during stressful loading,” a Viva spokesperson said…

At the same unit, turkeys were found with broken wings and one had a “gruesome” protruding wing-bone injury. This would have been difficult to miss in a welfare check but appeared to have gone untreated, according to the observers… “At all farms, investigators found a concerning number of birds suffering from disturbing injuries, probably due to a lack of appropriate environmental enrichment,” said Viva… Dying birds were found with devastatingly bloody wounds caused by other birds pecking out their feathers…

An RSPCA spokesperson said: “The footage shows a number of serious concerns, for example workers kicking turkeys and birds that are unable to walk properly, which is unacceptable… The government Animal and Plant Health Agency has launched an investigation into the findings. Two million turkeys are killed for Christmas dinners in the UK each year, according to animal-rights group PETA. SOURCE…

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