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Bristol Post
Bristol Post
Sophie Grubb

Protesters outside Bristol Lidl as part of 'Frankenchickens' campaign

Lidl shoppers were confronted with upsetting photos of chickens as they entered the Bristol city centre branch yesterday (June 29). Protesters stood with placards outside the Union Street supermarket, encouraging customers to sign a petition calling for the supermarket to pledge to higher animal welfare standards.

The protest was staged at 5.30pm by Bristol supporters of animal charity The Humane League UK, who want Lidl to adopt a policy called the Better Chicken Commitment. Hundreds of food outlets including KFC, Nando’s, Greggs and Lidl France have signed up already, agreeing to meet requirements when it comes to their chicken supply chain.

Campaigners say it promotes the use of slower-growing breeds, more space, natural light and enrichment, less painful slaughter methods and third-party auditing. However, Lidl GB has so far not signed up, although it does say it "takes the matter of animal welfare extremely seriously".

Read more: We compare food shop prices at Aldi to the same basics basket a year ago

The chain is not the only supermarket to be targeted by protesters who are calling for the end of so-called 'Frankenchickens', which is the term campaigners have given to fast-growing chickens that are often bred in the standard factory-farmed meat industry. Morrisons in Bristol has also seen protests previously.

Jack Slater, who was among the Bristol protesters yesterday, spoke of feeling "appalled" about the alleged conditions of chickens farmed for Lidl, and accused the chain of "profiting from their suffering". The librarian and academic added: "Lidl is a huge retailer with very, very deep pockets. Improving their animal welfare needs to be an immediate priority.”

In response to The Humane League’s protest, a spokesperson for Lidl GB told in November: “At Lidl GB, we take the matter of animal welfare extremely seriously and have long been committed to increasing welfare and traceability standards throughout our supply chain. All of our chicken complies with nationally recognised third-party standards, including Red Tractor Assured, RSPCA certification and Soil Association Organic, whilst our free-range RSPCA Assured chicken meets and exceeds the requirements of the Better Chicken Commitment.”

They added that the company sits on the Red Tractor poultry board and aims to continually improve their animal welfare standards. Lidl also said that in 2019 it was the first retailer to introduce production labelling across their fresh poultry range that outlines the conditions in which the animal was reared - which it has since extended to other products.

A number of Red Tractor-approved farms have already been shut down after undercover investigations exposed animal cruelty that wasn't picked up by Red Tractor inspectors.

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