Protest at Bristol Morrisons in ‘Frankenchicken’ backlash

Campaigners from animal rights charity Open Cages protested at the Morrisons store in Fishponds to try to get the chain to stop the sale of fast-growing ‘Frankenchickens’.

Hundreds of customers were shown images said to be from the retailer’s chicken supplier farms, with an advertising truck accusing the supermarket of deceiving the public with its Make Good Things Happen marketing campaign. The Bristol branch was among five South West stores targeted by protesters this weekend, and a total of 121 customers took part in their survey in total.

The group says everyone who filled in the survey at the Fishponds store agreed that Morrisons should stop selling the chicken. Open Cages activists also stormed the Fishponds store last April, alleging that 30 per cent of chickens in Morrisons’ supply chain can barely walk due to deformities.

READ MORE: Aldi follows Tesco and Sainsbury’s in announcing UK-wide ban

One South West customer quoted by Open Cages, Stephanie Storer, said she was “deeply saddened and shocked” by the campaign, adding: “It’s not my normal supermarket, and it won’t become one I use for chicken purchases until changes have been made in my eyes.”

Connor Jackson, CEO and co-founder of Open Cages, said the so-called Frankenchickens are animals “doomed to suffer deformities and heart attacks” and that their sale is at odds with Morrisons’ claim that it “cares deeply” for animal welfare. He added: “These are empty words designed to keep us coming back to the checkout.

“So if they’re not ready to sign the Better Chicken Commitment or to tell the truth, then Open Cages will continue to provide free, honest advertising. We believe Morrisons’ customers deserve to know what they’re really buying.”

At the time of the April protest, a Morrisons spokesperson told Bristol Live: “We care deeply about animal welfare. All our regular chicken is raised to above Red Tractor standards; we are also the only retailer in Europe to ask our fresh chicken suppliers to require chicken to be born into the barn in which it will be raised by 2025.

“80 per cent of our fresh chicken meets this standard already. We also actively monitor for any malpractice in our supply chain; we will never tolerate it or look the other way and if we ever find it, we will act swiftly and decisively.”

A statement on its website about animal welfare adds: “Today, we source 80 per cent of fresh chicken from farms where chicks are ‘barn born and raised’ and all our chicken will be sourced this way by 2025. In 2022, we will introduce a range of chicken that is grown more slowly and has more indoor space.

“Customers in our stores can also buy organic and free-range chickens, which grow more slowly and can range and forage outdoors.” Morrisons is not the only supermarket chain to be targeted by the Frankenchickens campaign.

Open Cages has an open letter on its website stating that it is “unacceptable for British supermarkets to continue selling them”, which is addressed to the CEOs of Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Aldi, Co-op, Asda, Ocado and Iceland.

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