Moy Park was fined after a series of offences under the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing regulation, whereby animals should be spared avoidable pain, distress or suffering during slaughter, Lincoln Magistrates Court heard on July 3.
The first offence came when 518 birds, from a load of 6,336, were found dead in a lorry as it arrived at the Lincolnshire slaughterhouse in Sleaford, in June 2016. Moy Park were also fined for failing to comply with their own standard operating procedures, as they were late in reporting the incident to a veterinarian.
Trapped by their necks and wings
In November last year, Moy Park broke the regulation again, when two live bird transporters tipped over, and resulted in some birds being crushed, and others being trapped by their necks and wings.
The following month, the poultry processor breached the regulations when 315 live birds went through a module washer, resulting in the birds being sprayed with pressurised water jets and disinfectant.
Moy Park was fined £33,500 for three of the offences, and £16,750 for the failure to comply with standard operating procedure offence. It was also told to pay costs of £1,100 and to pay a victim surcharge of £70. The business was ordered to pay £118,420 in total.
The poultry processor pleaded guilty to all four offences. It had a duty to care for its poultry, and the incidents were not acceptable, Moy Park said.
‘Not acceptable to us’
A Moy Park spokeswoman said: “We consider it our moral duty to care responsibly for our birds and these incidents, which were a result of a mechanical malfunction and a breakdown in procedures, are not acceptable to us.
“Each incident was thoroughly investigated and appropriate measures have been taken and are constantly monitored, including mechanical hardware and software improvements. As an additional response, we have also introduced new procedures and training for employees.”
The automated systems Moy Park invested in were widely recognised as delivering better animal welfare benefits, the firm said. It believed the new measures would help it to provide “optimum welfare conditions for our birds at every stage in their life and development.”
Meanwhile, Warburtons was fined £1.9M earlier this week, after a worker’s arm was trapped against a running conveyor belt.
Moy Park animal welfare offences – at a glance
- More than 500 birds found dead in lorry on arrival (£33,500)
- Failure to comply with own standard operating procedures as reported incident late (£16,750)
- Birds crushed when module tipped over (£33,500)
- Birds sprayed with pressurised water jets when going through module washer (£33,500)