2 Sisters slammed over flood plain chicken farm move

An animal welfare charity has criticised 2 Sisters Food Group over its decision to rebuild a chicken farm on a flood plain where 700,000 chickens drowned.

The farm was flooded last December after a tidal surge hit the area, causing the chickens to drown in their sheds. Animal Aid said the decision to rebuild the farms in North Lincolnshire, following last December’s flooding, was “deeply disturbing”.

Animal Aid has published a report called The Uncounted Dead: farming’s unofficial victims, which includes the 2 Sisters flooding case. According to the charity the report has led Derby North MP Chris Williamson to table a series of parliamentary questions. Animal Aid said Williamson will ask the government to publish accurate pre-slaughter mortality figures; introduce a mandatory hazard inspection regime and contingency evacuation plans to minimise the risk of farm fires and prohibit farmers from rearing animals in sheds located on flood plains.

Animal Aid director Andrew Tyler said: “Pathological cruelty and neglect have to be dealt with, so that animals do not fall prey to the farming trade’s worst practitioners. This means the meagre welfare laws and regulatory restraints currently in place must be strengthened and enforced. But no-one should imagine that either regulated or unregulated suffering can be banished from animal farming and slaughter. Meat, egg and milk production are pitiless, bloody activities that are predicated on industrial-scale animal exploitation and killing.

“The Uncounted Dead aims to reinforce that point, while opening up to public scrutiny a rarely discussed aspect of the industry – the millions of sheep, chickens, cows, pigs and other farmed animals whose often chaotic, agonising deaths are unrecognised, uncounted and unlamented.”

However, a 2 Sisters Food Group spokesman said the flooding was a freak event: “Both farms have been part of the local landscape for more than 30 years and currently provide jobs for six people.

“The effects of last year’s tidal surge were tragic for both animals and residents in the local area, and it cost a considerable sum to rebuild our farms.

“We have been advised a unique combination of factors caused this ‘once-in-100-year’ event. Both farms have been fully re-insured against flooding.”

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