‘Full investigation’ launched over ‘cruel’ Morrisons chickens grown on Norfolk and Suffolk farms

  • Warning: some people may find this story distressing 

Supermarket chain Morrisons says it has launched an urgent investigation after campaigners claimed chickens on farms run by its suppliers are being grown so fast they can barely stand up.

In a video narrated by the naturalist Chris Packham undercover filming claims to show fast-growing birds deformed and dying on farms in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Open Cages, an animal welfare charity, said new breeds of birds that grow fast feed consumers want for cheaper chicken. They claim modern chickens grow 400% faster than those farmed in 1950.

The organisation filmed in four intensive chicken farms in May and June. 

Those farms supply the Cranswick chicken factory which provides meat for Morrisons labelled Red Tractor approved, something designed to reassure people of high standards. 

Credit: ITV Anglia

ITV News approached Red Tractor for a comment but have not had a response at the time of writing. 

TV naturalist Chris Packham said it is ‘cruel beyond belief’ and is calling for Morrisons to sign the Better Chicken Commitment which would mean only slower growing chickens are used.

Other retailers like M&S, Waitrose and KFC are among 240 companies across Europe to commit to stop selling the fast growing birds. 

In a statement Morrisons say they have launched a ‘full investigation’ and that they ‘care deeply about animal welfare’.

Cranswick have yet to respond to our requests for comment, but elsewhere the company has said "we take the welfare of chickens at our farms very seriously and it is always our first priority."

ITV news has not been able to independently verify the footage that came out of the farms. The video is also edited so may not reflect overall conditions the chickens face.