Undercover footage recorded by the UK animal rights organisation Animal Justice Project has shown ducks swung by their necks and hurled to the ground at Byram Park Farm in North Yorkshire, England, a farm supplying Gressingham Duck, the UK’s largest duck meat producer, which sells to the major UK supermarkets, such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, and Co-op. The farm in question was endorsed by Red Tractor, which is supposed to accredit only the best farms in terms of animal welfare — showing again how meaningless is this accreditation as many Red Tractor farms have already been exposed for animal cruelty.
The cruel treatment of nearly 10,000 44-days-old intensively farmed ducks recorded in the footage includes forceful closure of crate doors onto ducks’ heads, wings, and limbs; catchers violating Red Tractor rules by swinging ducks by their necks; catchers grabbing up to three ducks per hand, exceeding a Red Tractor rule of no more than two; injured and lame ducks being thrown aside, destined for on-site euthanasia by neck dislocation; workers grab a duck by the neck, swing them around, breaking their necks, and toss them into a pile where they convulse; unsanitary sheds, with bodies piled up; and ducks panting due to stress. Gressingham Foods produces most of the nine million UK ducks slaughtered every year through its contractor farms.
Claire Palmer, director of Animal Justice Project, said, “The footage shows numerous ducks ‘back-peddling’, unable to right themselves. Catching is a secretive side of the industry, and this highlights the systemic issues in it.”
After the newspaper The Independent showed clips from the Animal Justice’s footage recorded at Byram Park Farm, the supermarket Waitrose cut ties with this farm. The RSPCA also reacted by banning the workers involved from catching turkeys and chickens on farms that are certified under its RSPCA Assured scheme.