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8 February 2011 | Angeline Albert
Waitrose has suspended a supplier of free-range ducks after secret footage revealed birds being abused at a farm that supplies the UK supermarket.
An undercover investigation by Hillside Animal Sanctuary filmed workers at Hall Farm in Hingham, Norfolk, picking up live birds and swinging them around by their necks before flinging them across a farmyard floor.
The farm rears ducks for the supermarket under Waitrose's own Pekin duck range.
The ducks are sent to Gressingham Foods to be processed before being delivered to Waitrose supermarkets around the country.
In a statement Waitrose said: “We are appalled by the footage taken at Hall Farm and as soon as we saw it we suspended the supplier while we carry out a full investigation. We immediately sent a vet to the site to ensure the welfare of ducks remaining at the farm and [we] are staying very close to the situation. This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and completely goes against the high welfare standards Waitrose expects of its farmers”.
Green Label Farms, who contracts the team of catchers shown in the undercover video has not been suspended.
In a statement Green Label Farms said: "Our priority is always the welfare of the birds. While this is an isolated incident involving a contract farm we have taken the decision to review all procedures across the farm estate. Hall Farm remains suspended until further notice and the individuals involved have been dismissed."