Moy Park fined £118,420 for causing ‘avoidable pain’

Moy Park’s Lincolnshire slaughterhouse has been fined a total of £118,420 on four counts of causing distress and unnecessary pain to chickens. 

The first offence took place on 7 June 2016, when 518 birds from a total of 6,336 were found to be already dead on arrival, violating the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing Regulations 2015. For this offence, the Northern Irish headquartered processor was charged with a fine of £33,500.

On the same day, Moy Park was fined for failiing to comply to its own standard operating procedures as they were late in advising the official veterinarian on duty of the 518 deceased birds and didn’t present 10 dead-on-arrival birds for the vet to perform a post-mortem inspection, again violating the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing Regulations 2015. For this offence, Moy Park was given a fine of £16,750.

The firm was handed an additional fine of £33,500 when two modules containing live birds tipped over in a slaughter line on 29 November 2016, resulting in some of the animals being crushed and trapped with their necks and wings stuck between crates.

On 14 December 2016, 315 living birds went through a washer and were sprayed with pressurised water jets and disinfectant, for which the company received a fine of £33,500.

On top of this, Moy Park was ordered to pay £70 in surcharges to fund victim services on top of court costs of £1,100. The company pleaded guilty to the offences.

“We consider it our moral duty to care responsibly for our birds and these incidents, which were a result of a mechanical malfunction and a breakdown in procedures, are not acceptable to us,” a Moy Park spokesperson commented.

“Each incident was thoroughly investigated and appropriate measures have been taken and are constantly monitored, including mechanical hardware and software improvements. As an additional response we have also introduced new procedures and training for employees. The automated systems we have invested in are widely recognised as delivering significantly higher animal welfare benefits than standard manual systems,” added the spokesperson.

“We sincerely believe that the new measures we have in place today will help us to achieve our aim of providing the optimum welfare conditions for our birds at every stage in their life and development.”

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