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News Section Icon Published 08/02/2011

It has been reported by Sky News that a farmer who supplies free range ducks to Waitrose recruited a temporary contract team in his absence through ill health to manage the catching of the ducks.

Green Label Farm's catchers were covertly filmed by Hillside Animal Sanctuary grossly mistreating the ducks and the footage was sent to Sky News. Sky News contacted Waitrose and disclosed the contents of the film to them and Waitrose promptly suspended the supplier.

Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive of Compassion in World Farming condemns the actions of the catchers.

Our statement on the incident is:

"We are appalled and disappointed to hear of the conduct of the catchers towards the ducks; the behaviour seen on the film is totally unacceptable. We welcome Waitrose's suspension of the contractor involved.  This situation underlines the need for rigorous and frequent checks to ensure that the welfare of farmed animals is properly protected."

Compassion in World Farming's Food Business team visited the duck farm in question (Hall Farm in Norfolk) in 2010 and at the time found good welfare practices.

Waitrose has issued the following statement:

"We are appalled by the footage taken at Hall Farm and as soon as we saw it we suspended this supplier while we do a full investigation.  We have sent a vet to the farm to ensure the welfare of other ducks on the site and we are staying very close to this situation. The behaviour seen on the film is totally unacceptable and completely goes against the high welfare standards Waitrose expects of its farmers. Green Label Farms, who contract the team of catchers shown in the video, is also taking this matter very seriously and has suspended those involved while it undertakes its own investigation."

Hall Farm has also launched a full investigation.


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