Animal welfare activists protest supermarket's use of 'frankenchickens' outside stores in Bognor Regis and Worthing

Protestors descended on Morrisons supermarkets in Bognor Regis and Worthing on Tuesday (May 3) to demand higher welfare standards for animals.
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The protestors, dressed as chickens, descended on Morrisons supermarkets in Bognor Regis and Worthing to demand the removal of genetically engineered 'frankenchickens' from shop shelves.

The so-called 'frankenchickens' are genetically engineered to grow 400 per cent faster than natural. Their treatment sparked controversy after footage from last year showed the birds collapsing in their own waste on farms supplying Morrisons supermarkets.

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Other protests were held in cities like Bradford, Hull, London and Glasgow.

Protests in Bognor RegisProtests in Bognor Regis
Protests in Bognor Regis

A spokesperson for Morrisons said the company cares 'deeply about animal welfare': "All our regular chickens are raised to above Red Tractor standards; we are also the only retailer in Europe to ask our fresh chicken suppliers to require chickens to be born into the barn in which they will be raised by 2025. 80 per cent 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."

Local protests were led by Doug Maw, a former Morrisons worker who claims to have been fired for speaking out against the company's farming conditions.

"In firing me, Morrisons has revealed to all of us that they will do anything to bury the truth about the animal cruelty in their supply chain," he said. "That tells us just how much they don’t want us to know what’s going on behind the Market Street chicken label. And at the end of the day, it’s just sad that all this time they spent trying to silence me, they could have spent actually improving their welfare standards.

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"My hope is that other staff members like me inside Morrisons will have the courage to do the right thing and stand up against animal suffering. We can all encourage this supermarket to take animal welfare seriously by joining the hundreds of companies who are taking Frankenchickens off the shelves.”

The protests come after Morrisons announced a small range of chicken reared to higher welfare standards. Protestors say this represents a 'cheap gesture', claiming the supermarket chain continues to source the vast majority of its meat from the intensively farmed birds.

"Don’t be fooled by the cheap gestures and PR spin," Said Connor Jackson, CEO and founder of Open Cages: a national charity trying to 'create a better world for farmed animals.'

"For years now Morrisons has sat on their hands and done the absolute minimum possible to improve chicken welfare, whilst pedalling out feel good marketing campaigns and wearing only the costume of a company that cares about animals.”

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“Morrisons say they never tolerate malpractice in their supply chain, but this has nothing to do with malpractice. Around 30% of Frankenchickens can barely walk because of painful lameness and deformities. Millions of these monstrous birds die from heart attacks because they can’t handle growing 400% faster than natural, millions more have their necks broken to simply put them out of their misery. Morrisons tolerates this daily because the scenes we filmed are the norm in their supply chain. These are the expected consequences of the poor welfare standards that Morrisons has chosen.”

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