On 8th July 2023, animal rights activists from the group Open Cages protested outside 30 Lidl supermarket stores across the UK after footage showing animal abuse in one of the farms that supply the discount supermarket chain was made public. The images were recorded by a whistleblower from a Birchwood farm which Lidl denies is one of its suppliers of chickens, but the animal rights group claims they have evidence that this is a lie. Protesters gathered at stores in London, Bristol, and Glasgow.
Open Cages said that “indisputable evidence has since emerged” which proves that Birchwood farm chickens, owned by the 2 Sisters Food Group, were on sale at branches of the supermarket as recently as June 2023. Open Cages found a chicken corpse in a Lidle store in packaging containing the slaughterhouse identification “GB 2037”, which apparently corresponds to a facility owned by 2 Sisters.
Tom Herok, the whistleblower who recorded the undercover footage, joined the protesters outside Lidl’s Tottenham Court Road branch in London. He said, “I’m protesting because retailers like Lidl are not telling the truth. I worked in one of Lidl’s chicken supplier farms for 2 months last year, and I saw things I wouldn’t want anybody to see — birds who were clearly run over simply because they got in the way of a forklift — dying and deformed birds tossed aside like rubbish — I don’t know how Lidl cannot be moved by these images.”
Connor Jackson, CEO & co-founder of Open Cages, said, “Tom’s footage reveals the true horror of life on one of Lidl’s chicken supplier farms – it has got to be seen to be believed. Naively, I hoped Lidl might put their hands up and admit that things need to change. Instead, I was shocked by such blatant deception about an issue that we Brits care deeply about. As the largest retailer of chicken in Europe, Lidl’s lack of accountability and the abuse of these animals has got to stop.”