Gloucestershire

Turkey farm loses Red Tractor certification over 'cruelty' film

Gravel Farm, Gloucestershire Image copyright Viva
Image caption Animal welfare group Viva said the farm produces over 33,000 turkeys a year

A turkey farm has had its certification removed by a farm-approval scheme after allegations of "suffering and cruelty".

Hidden cameras were set up by pro-vegan group Viva at Gravel Farm in Gloucestershire in November.

The group said footage showed the birds "never see the light of day", are "mechanically fed and watered" and are slaughtered using "barbaric" methods.

Red Tractor has removed the Westbury-On-Severn farm from its scheme. The BBC has approached the farm for comment.

The welfare group said the farm produced more than 33,000 turkeys a year, which were housed in two sheds - each holding up to 5,500 birds at any one time.

Image copyright Viva
Image caption Birds are housed in two sheds, with up to 5,500 birds in each at any one time, according to Viva

Along with finding "a concerning number of birds" with "disturbing injuries" caused by other birds pecking out their feathers, the group also said birds were being killed with an "inhumane neck crushing device".

"Our team witnessed appalling conditions, documenting the systematic abuse of farmed turkeys, whose short lives are filled with nothing but misery and pain," said Lex Rigby, from Viva.

"While some birds were ruthlessly killed with barbaric neck crushing devices others were left to die slow, agonising deaths from their injuries - all for the sake of Christmas dinner."

'Shocked' by footage

The farm was certified by Red Tractor, which requires produce to be "traceable, safe and farmed with care".

A spokeswoman said the farm had been suspended from the scheme immediately after the footage was shared.

"We were shocked to see the footage and the farm's membership from our scheme has been terminated," she said,

"We have reported Gravel Farm to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to investigate whether any legal action should be taken."

The farm supplies turkeys to Avara Foods, which processes 4.5 million chickens, turkey and ducks a week.

A spokesman said it began an "immediate investigation" as soon as it was made aware of the allegations.

"We have decided to remove the farm in question from our supply chain," he said.

"The birds on this farm were never part of our plans for Christmas."

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