Activists protest at Morrisons over ‘humane washing’ animal welfare promises

Local protesters from Open Cages have occupied the front entrance of a Morrisons store, criticising the supermarket for its animal welfare promises.

The protest which took place in Wimbeldon today (6 February), saw activists holding images of sick and injured chickens in crowded sheds.

Open Cages’ “Cruelty Street” stunt looked to criticise Morrisons for “humane washing” customers with its Market Street marketing campaign which promises “local” farms with high standards of welfare.

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However, in 2021 the animal protection charity published undercover footage from four farms supplying the grocery retailer’s Butcher’s on Market Street chicken label, with birds found to be ‘deformed and dying’ in crowded farms.

This comes as one of nearly 100 protests, with activists demanding it improve its chicken welfare standards.

According to Open Cages, a typical chicken sold in Morrisons has been selectively bred to grow 400% faster than natural which leads to welfare problems, including less than an A4 sheet of paper in its final 35 days of life.

As a result, activists are calling on the supermarket to follow M&S, Waitrose and over 550 companies across the globe committing to adopt better chicken welfare standards by 2026.

“It’s very simple: Morrisons is not telling the truth. Most chicken sold in Morrisons come from industrial factory farms,” Open Cages CEO and co-founder, Connor Jackson said.

“These animals are made to grow so fast they can often barely even walk because it’s all about money. But you’ll never see any of this on the label, in the meat aisle or a TV ad.” 

“78% of Brits oppose cruel farming practices. So I believe it’s not fair for a customer to unknowingly fund animal cruelty. That’s blatant humane washing. Brits deserve to make informed choices, and so we’re happy to provide some honest advertising free of charge. We’ll continue to do so until Morrisons commits to ending these cruel practices.”

A Morrisons spokesperson told Grocery Gazette: “We care deeply about animal welfare. All our regular chicken is raised to above Red Tractor standards; we are also the only retailer in Europe to ask our fresh chicken suppliers to require chicken to be born into the barn in which it will be raised by 2025. 80% of our fresh chicken meets this standard already. We also actively monitor for any malpractice in our supply chain; we will never tolerate it or look the other way and if we ever find it, we will act swiftly and decisively.”



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