Poultry workers have cried fowl over the horrific conditions suffered by chickens on an egg farm in Poland following an investigation by an animal rights group.
The poultry farm is described as the largest egg producer in the European Union and pressure is mounting on the EU Commission to take action.
Almost one million hens are kept at Fermy Drobiu Woźniak in cages with one in five laying hens in Poland reported to live on one of Woźniak’s farms.
According to two whistleblowers who worked at the poultry farm one of their main jobs was to remove dead hens from their cages.
The animals reportedly died due to the cramped conditions which saw the hens aggressively turn on each other. Others are said to have died as a result of getting stuck.
According to the former worker, each day, the staff collected dozens to hundreds of dead animals with some having been left for several weeks and in a severe stage of decay.
The animals were described as being in very poor physical condition with some missing plumage, deformed legs and open wounds.
Connor Jackson, CEO and Co-founder of Open Cages, said: “Many countries are already transitioning away from caged farming systems for hens.
“The EU needs to follow through on its promises and do its part in eradicating animal suffering from our food system.”
According to Open Cages, a veterinary inspection, carried out several weeks after the footage was collected, confirmed the poor conditions reported by the undercover workers.
The animal rights NGO has teamed up with international partners to file a legal case against Fermy Drobiu Woźniak with the prosecutor’s office in Poland on the grounds of potential animal abuse.
The EU is currently considering a ban on cage farming as part of a reform to the bloc’s animal welfare legislation.