Morrisons employees protest over 'Frankenchickens'

16 August 2021

Morrisons employees have protested at stores across the UK against the treatment of chickens in the supermarket's supply chains.

Protests occurred at over a dozen Morrisons stores after an investigation by charity Open Cages accused farms owned by Cranswick, one of Morrisons' biggest suppliers, of chicken mistreatment.

The protests were led by Morrisons employee Doug Mew, who claims he is facing disciplinary action from the company.

Open Cages accused Morrisons' suppliers of rearing “Frankenchickens” after birds were found to be genetically modified to grow bigger and faster than natural.

The investigation claimed chickens were "completely or almost unable to walk" as their legs were unable to take the weight of their bodies.

Protests occurred at stores in Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Glasgow and London.

In response Morrisons said: "We care deeply about animal welfare and require all our suppliers to maintain the highest standards. We have asked Cranswick to conduct a full investigation and report back to us."

Cranswick provides meat for Morrisons’ Butcher’s on Market Street range, which is marketed as "welfare assured".

A spokesperson from Cranswick said: “The team at Cranswick would like to apologise for the recent footage. We have investigated this thoroughly both internally and with the support of unannounced external audits. 

“Whilst we are confident that the occurrences are isolated, we have identified procedural improvements to our farming system that have been implemented to significantly reduce the likelihood of an issue occuring in the future.”

Campaigners from Open Cages, Animal Equality UK and The Humane League UK are urging Morrisons to sign the Better Chicken Commitment, which looks to ensure better treatment of chickens within supply chains by banning the use of fast-growing breeds and ensuring birds are given natural light and greater space.

Marks and Spencers and Waitrose are currently the only UK supermarkets to sign up to the pledge, with food restaurants KFC, Nando’s, Greggs and Subway also signatories.

The protests come after separate investigations found chickens at farms that supply to Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Lidl were found to be dying of thirst, disabled and resorting to cannibalism as a result of a lack of animal welfare.

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