A Norfolk free range egg farmer has been suspended from the RSPCA’s Freedom Food scheme pending investigation of an allegation that chickens were being kept in poor conditions.

Campaigners filmed covertly at Simon Dann’s Pound Farm in North Tuddenham, near Dereham and clips shown on Five News are said to have shown dead and neglected chickens.

Leigh Grant, chief executive of Freedom Food issued a statement to media which read: “The RSPCA is horrified and extremely concerned at any allegations of animals suffering – and has taken immediate action by suspending the farm, and launching our own investigation.

“As soon as we were made aware of the issues by Five News, we took immediate action to suspend the farm, pending further investigation.”

No problem

Defending his farm Mr Dann said that the premises had been inspected by the RSPCA and that no problems had been reported.

Advising caution on the allegations the NFU’s regional press officer Brian Finnerty commented: “The farmer in this film had adhered to the strict rules laid down by the RSPCA to achieve his Freedom Foods status for his free range eggs. He was passed by a recent RSCPA inspection to his farm.

“The images from the film do show birds in a state of ill-health. Even on a well-managed farm, with the highest standards of care, livestock can become ill from time to time. However in this instance they were under the care of a vet and receiving treatment.”