Suffolk Animal Vigils activists find severed limb during inspection of trucks at Cranswick Country Foods factory in Eye
An Suffolk poultry factory has promised to open an investigation after animal rights campaigners discovered processed chicken legs in crates with live animals.
On Wednesday, around a dozen activists from Suffolk Animal Vigils were given permission by Cranswick Country Foods to inspect trucks as they transported live chickens to its Eye slaughterhouse.
The protesters discovered processed animal legs poking out of some of the crates, prompting the poultry firm to launch its own investigation.
“We had an arrangement with the slaughterhouse to take photographs of the trucks as they turned up,” said Debbie Anne (pictured below), a member of Suffolk Animal Vigils.
“They allowed us to take photographs for three or four minutes and, in that time, we saw each truck would have several severed chicken limbs in there with the birds.
“We didn’t notice anything on the first truck, but every single truck after that had, amongst the live chickens that were going to their deaths, severed limbs sticking out from the crates.
“Why they were in with the live birds, I don’t know.
“You’ve got to think about a cross-contamination issue. At the end of the day, you’ve got live birds being transported from the farm to the slaughterhouse with dead body parts amongst them.
“We did not expect this. I’ve been doing this for years and have never seen a severed limb.”
After watching footage of the inspections, which has since been posted online, a spokesman for Cranswick confirmed that the chicken legs were already processed, and were not the remains of live chickens.
The spokesman said: “The welfare of our animals is the number one priority at every stage of the process, from farming and transportation to the processing stage.
“The images we have seen today are not as a result of any injuries to chickens in transit.
“The leg that is seen in the picture is from a chicken that has been previously processed and we are investigating how it came to appear in the crate.”
UK guidelines on transporting livestock say that checks should be made beforehand to ensure “all animals are fit to travel”, and that drivers should “check animals during the journey to make sure they meet their needs for water, feed and rest.”