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February 9, 2011

UK: Waitrose ends contract over duck cruelty claims

UK grocery operator Waitrose has ended its contract with a duck farm accused of animal cruelty.

UK grocery operator Waitrose has ended its contract with a duck farm accused of animal cruelty.

Allegations emerged yesterday (8 February) that workers at Hall Farm picked up ducks by their necks and swung them before throwing them into the flock. A Sky News investigation also discovered sick and injured birds as well as dead birds which had been left to rot among the flock.

Hall Farm is contracted to Green Label Farms, which operates Gressingham Foods’ poultry operations. Green Label Farms has launched an investigation into the claims.

Waitrose, which stocks the premium Gressingham brand, said that it was “appalled by the footage” and it has suspended the farm from its supply base.

A spokesperson said: “Following an immediate and detailed investigation, we have now ended our relationship with the farm concerned. The behaviour seen on the film is totally unacceptable and completely goes against the high welfare standards Waitrose expects of its farmers. We are also reviewing our processes to make sure we do everything we can to ensure nothing like this can ever happen again.”

A Green Label spokesperson told just-food that it has launched an inquiry to review procedures and the farm has been suspended until the investigation has been completed. It has also suspended all of the contract catchers who worked on the farm.

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