chicken news

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wolverine

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chicken news
« on: October 06, 2010, 19:19 »

An investigation by Sky News and Viva has uncovered evidence suggesting Britain's largest egg producer is contravening strict guidelines on animal welfare.

Noble Foods own hen farms accredited to the RSPCA Freedom Food scheme, designed to offer particularly high standards of welfare for farm animals.

But footage obtained by Sky News and Viva from two farms in Fife, Scotland, suggests the guidelines are being breached.

An employee for Noble Foods was covertly filmed revealing electric wires are used to control the hens, who are also encouraged to remain indoors until 80% of them are laying.

Another worker admitted at least one barn was infested with red mite, a parasite that causes skin irritations.

On a second visit to the farm, investigators filmed dozens of birds which had lost feathers due to disease and being pecked by other hens.

For their Happy Egg brand, Noble Foods portrays an image of welfare standards beyond the requirements of the Freedom Food scheme.

The company's website states hens are given activities to enhance their natural surroundings such as "an adventure playground and sandpit".

Yet on two separate visits to the farm we discovered muddy surroundings and a water-logged sandpit.

A Noble Foods worker was recorded admitting the farm has problems with soil drainage and conditions for the hens were different than those officially portrayed.

Justine Kerswell from Viva, told Sky News: "Contented hens pecking at the ground and enjoying a dust bathe in the sun - that's most people's view of free range egg production.

"Viva And Sky News' investigation into The Happy Egg Company shows a very different picture - one of disease, incarceration, short lives and electric shocks."

In a statement, Noble Foods said: "We take the treatment of our hens extremely seriously.

"As soon as we were made aware of the video footage the company instigated an internal enquiry.

"Last night, at our request, both farms involved were audited by RSPCA Freedom Food inspectors and both were given very positive reports.

"We will continue to work with RSPCA Freedom Foods to ensure the highest possible welfare standards across our farms."

The RSPCA told Sky News they take any potential breach of welfare standards very seriously and would be suspending the farms in question from the Freedom Food scheme pending their own investigation.

Noble Foods supplies Happy Eggs to supermarkets including Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Ocado.

Sainsbury's welcomed the RSPCA investigation while Ocado have announced they will de-list Happy Eggs from their range as a precautionary measure.

British Egg Week runs from October 4-10, 2010.
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8doubles

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Re: chicken news
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2010, 19:47 »
VIVA , Veggies international voice for animals would stop us keeping hens given the chance.
Muddy runs and waterlogged sandpit in Fife who would believe that  :) it happens here in Hampshire too with 3 pet hens.
Red mite, yep had them last year.
Controlling the hens with electric wires ? Fox proofing ?

The RSPCA do not seem to think the condition are bad , why is this news.

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wolverine

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Re: chicken news
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2010, 19:50 »
Just read it on sky news thought it mght be of interest if not I'm sorry

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8doubles

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Re: chicken news
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2010, 19:58 »
No need for apology Wolverine , it is better to know of the latest garbage from some of the animal rights brigade.

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jinty1911

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Re: chicken news
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2010, 20:16 »
This is British egg week? Oh yeah, will have to tell chooks.  Maybe they will produce big enough eggs for an omelette.  :nowink:
Jinty

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GrannieAnnie

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Re: chicken news
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2010, 23:39 »
I didn't know it was British egg week either!  Must tell the hens tomorrow too!!  May get more than 6 eggs from them!  :lol: :lol:

But as to Happy Hens eggs and RSPCA welfare standards.  I wouldn't trust any of these companies.  They will try to get away with anything given the chance!

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Beano

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Re: chicken news
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2010, 10:24 »
I wouldn't trust these companies either. I've never understood why they always have a warning of visits/inspections. These inspections should be without any warning so that they do not have a chance to "tidy up" beforehand.
El.

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evie2

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Re: chicken news
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2010, 11:42 »
I'm jumping on the band wagon to say I agree with GA and Beano.

We've all suffered with muddy runs/enclosures these past few weeks, well I know we have. We go out several times a day to make sure the chooks are ok and not up to their necks in it. 

I appreciate Happy Hens are a business producing thousands of eggs weekly, compared to my 3 dozen, however if they are selling their eggs under the banner of the RSPCA  Freedom Food Scheme they have a duty to the hens and their customers to provide a suitable, safe and hygienic environment.

This is taken from their website;
Each happy egg co. farm is visited regularly by our team of specialist, experienced Fieldsmen. They ensure our high standards are always being met. Fieldsmen can help the farmers and are there to answer any questions they may have.
 
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