On 1st November 2023, World’s Vegan Day, four vegan activists taking part in a protest outside a chicken processing plant in Bunwell, Norfolk, UK, were arrested by the police. Around 25 people gathered by the animal rights group Animal Justice Project (AJP) staged their protest at the AD Harvey plant, blocking its gates.
One female was arrested for breach of court bail, two other females were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and one male was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance. They were all taken to the Wymondham Police Investigation Centre for questioning.
In October, the Animal Justice Project released shocking footage which exposed staff kicking and throwing the hens inside the facility. Investigators recorded this in Spring 2023, when the group went undercover to capture the never-before-filmed world of UK chicken-catching “gangs”. AJP investigators embedded themselves with the “chicken processing specialists” AD Harvey, whilst they visited farms to carry out “depopulation”. This company, which processes over 15,000 “spent” egg-laying hens daily, is an RSPCA-assured company which promises higher welfare standards which “go further than standard legal requirements”. When the hens are around 18 months old, they decrease their egg production so they are considered “spent” and are then killed after caught by these gangs.
Ayrton Cooper , AJP campaign manager, said to Norfolk Live, “Our cameras have unequivocally exposed RSPCA Assured, revealing complicity in animal suffering. It’s imperative that they sever ties with AD Harvey, considering the evident aggression and violence documented. For consumers, merely transitioning to cage-free eggs falls short, as hens will persist in facing mass abuse. Despite major retailers pledging to adopt cage-free eggs by 2025, the truth remains—the UK egg industry is fundamentally flawed.”