Breaking! Hens left to suffer and die in crowded metal cages for eggs sold in Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and One Stop

Animal Equality investigators visited Walston Poultry Farm (East Down site), near Blandford Forum in Dorset, four times between January and March 2018 and found:

  • 80,000 hens in each giant shed, all locked in ‘colony cages’ stacked seven tiers high.
  • Many birds suffering from severe feather loss – some nearly bald – with red, raw skin.
  • Dead birds left in cages with the living, some being cannibalized.
  • Birds with visible wounds from being pecked by cage mates.
  • Dead birds left lying on walkways next to cages with the living.
  • Tubs holding dozens of dead birds left in the sheds overnight.
  • Failure to inspect all birds daily, in violation of welfare regulations.

Around half a million birds are housed in eight windowless sheds on this site, laying around 140 million eggs a year for the UK’s largest egg producer – Noble Foods – which operates multiple brands including Big & Fresh (eggs from caged hens) and the free-range Happy Egg Company. Noble Foods is the subject of an ongoing campaign by The Humane League UK because it claims to put the welfare of its ‘girls’ first for Happy Eggs while simultaneously forcing 4.3m hens to suffer and die in cages for its Big & Fresh brand.

We have passed all of our footage, photographs and written evidence to Dorset Trading Standards which is charged with investigating on-farm welfare, as well as to the British Egg Industry Council which runs the Lion Code. Both have said they are investigating the farm.