AN RSPCA report has heavily criticised conditions inside broiler houses on chicken farms across the UK, reports the Daily Mail.

The RSPCA reports that about 850 million chickens are reared on UK farms each year to supply the nations demand for the white meat.

It claims that conditions on some farms are so bad nearly 100,000 chickens a day die across the country before they are old enough to go for slaughter.

The RSPCA blames the consumers‘ obsession with cheap – and healthy – food for forcing animals to be raised in intensive conditions.

Caroline Le Sueur, senior scientific officer at the charity told the paper most consumers would be horrified if they knew what was happening. 

Miss Le Sueur was speaking at the launch of a campaign to increase consumer awareness in an attempt to put pressure on stores and producers to improve housing conditions.

She criticised the development of breeding techniques that have improved growth rates so that a bird will now be ready for slaughter before it reaches six weeks of age.

The RSPCA claims this rapid period of growth can cause heart defects, lameness and leg deformities.

The RSPCA report criticises the accepted industry stocking rate of 20 birds/sq metre saying the bird requires more room to move around freely.

As well as applying pressure to the supermarkets to monitor conditions on farms it is lobbying for a new EU directive to govern chicken production and address welfare concerns across the board.