Norfolk farm inspected after broiler cruelty claim

A Norfolk broiler producer has been inspected by the RSPCA following the release of footage which appears to depict high levels of injured birds and poor living conditions.

R T Pointer, a poultry wholesaler based in Hevingham, was secretly filmed by the Hillside Animal Sanctuary following a complaint from a member of the public. A spokesman from the sanctuary said they filmed on the farm four times during early September.

The film shows broilers being pushed into transport crates. There is also footage of birds with feather loss, irritated skin, apparent high levels of lameness and dead birds that had not been cleared from the shed floor.

This is not the first time Hillside Animal Sanctuary has covertly filmed on a farm; in 2011 they released footage of catchers throwing and carrying ducks by the neck.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said following the inspection they had advised the farmer leasing the premises on a number of welfare issues that arose from the footage, including the way the chickens were handled.

The British Poultry Council (BPC) said R.T. Pointer was not a member of the organisation and the film was not representative of chicken production in the UK.

“BPC members meet high standards of husbandry and animal health and welfare, in line with the Red Tractor Farm Assurance Poultry Scheme.”

The Red Tractor standard ensures birds are “cared for by trained flock keepers, inspected at least twice daily and have access to feed, clean water, bedding, warmth and good air ventilation”, said the BPC.

R T Pointer declined to comment.

This is the video Hillside Animal Sanctuary posted on YouTube.

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