Broilers eat in a shed© Design Pics Inc/REXShutterstock

A poultry slaughterhouse has been fined for failing to stun or slaughter birds before they entered scalding tanks, which are designed to loosen feathers of dead birds before plucking.

Halal chicken supplier 1Stop Halal was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,000 after it was found in breach of standards at its slaughterhouse in Eye, Suffolk.

See also: New gas stunner offers higher welfare for poultry farm

The plant supplies supermarkets and is part owned by 2 Sisters chief executive Ranjit Singh.

The Food Standards Agency said it identified 10 separate breaches of standards resulting in 82 birds not being either stunned or killed before entering scald tanks.

Of that total, 70 were killed on the same day, 6 July last year. In the following three months, 12 birds in largely isolated incidents were not stunned or killed before entering scald tanks.

The Times reported a fault with stunning equipment that led to slaughtermen missing birds as they passed the lines.

‘Deep regret’

1Stop Halal issued a statement, in which it said: “We deeply regret the circumstances which occurred on the 6 July 2015 during our non-stun slaughter when up to 81 birds were caused unnecessary suffering.

“This occurred on our first day of operating the facility at Eye and involved a degree of human error.”

It added the employees in question no longer worked for the business.

Tighter regulation

Animal rights charity Animal Aid called for tighter slaughterhouse regulation.

Director Isobel Hutchinson  said: “Animal Aid has conducted undercover investigations inside 10 randomly chosen UK slaughterhouses, and found evidence of lawbreaking and cruelty in nine out of those 10.”