A new exposé of the turkey breeding facility Sandybank Farm in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, UK, run by UK food business Avara Foods, which supplies major UK supermarkets, has revealed dead, dying, and diseased birds left to suffer. 

The investigation, led by vegan activist Joey Carbstrong, produced undercover footage recorded at the farm on multiple occasions between 19th November and 14th December 2023, showing turkeys confined to cramped, unsanitary spaces, and workers kicking, hitting, and grabbing birds by the neck before throwing them around. Some workers are also seen appearing to laugh at dying birds.

Carbstrong said in a statement: “Most turkeys in the UK spend their short sad lives on intensive factory farms. Thousands of these birds are packed into windowless sheds, where there is no natural light or fresh air, and where they are forced to live in filthy conditions, where disease and the cannibalism of dead and dying birds is common.”

This farm, the turkeys of which may end up in the big chain supermarkets Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Sainsbury’s or Morrisons, has been accredited with the Red Tractor scheme.  A spokesperson for Red Tractor told Plant Based News about this investigation the following: “The evidence we have reviewed so far gives cause for concern about how birds are being managed and handled, and about the training and management of staff. We immediately suspended the farm and the catching team concerned. Our investigation is ongoing.”

Turkeys suffer on any farm where they are bred and killed when they are still young. In 2020, the vegan charity Viva! released shocking footage from an undercover investigation into three British intensive turkey farms that also supply major supermarkets in the UK. During this investigation many birds were found to be so overweight they struggled to stand after falling over. Several turkeys were also found with broken wings, and workers were recorded brutally kicking helpless birds.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.