Animal rights activists have claimed to find a live bird in a bin of culled stock while filming undercover on a broiler farm.

Campaign group Animal Equity said it intended to create virtual reality footage in order to show consumers how intensively reared poultry is produced.

See also: Getting fly control right on poultry farms

The footage they have highlights lame and dead birds on a Devon farm.

Animal Equity visited the unit five times in total, beginning in late March when the birds were about a week old.

The investigators said during one of their visits a bird was found sitting on top of a bin full of dead broilers.

They took it home, cleaned it up and named it Gloria, with the bird now underpinning their campaign against poultry farming.

It said during the third visit “our shocked investigators opened the lid of a huge rubbish bin to find a weak young bird, shivering with cold but very much alive, sitting on top of a pile of rotting corpses”.

The group made two further visits while “Gloria” grew to maturity and developed feather cover.

A statement on the website reads: “We have long known that intensive chicken farming sacrifices animal welfare in favour of profits at every opportunity, but abandoning a live bird to die on a pile of rotting corpses is a new low.

“Gloria is now a family pet who loves human company and cuddles as much as any dog, yet a billion chickens just like her are farmed for their flesh in Britain every year,” it added.