The giants of the Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s supermarkets pulled some free range chicken eggs off the shelves after raising doubts about animal welfare.
Sales of Hoads Farm’s best quality free range eggs were temporarily suspended following allegations of “rotting stacks of living hens” living in alleged “pathological conditions” on the farm, owned by Potters Yorkshire Farmhouse Eggs Ltd.
The RSPCA suspended the Sussex farm operation and its license was revoked pending an “urgent investigation” after animal welfare activists DxE Brighton protested the farm on January 27.
According to Kent Live, 150 activists dressed in full biosecurity presented at the farm in Broad Oak near Hastings.
Six other people chained each other at the end of the farm driveway with the support of multiple activists.
And 20 other supporters have entered nearby Sainsbury’s in Hastings.
Hoads Farm is fully accredited according to RSPCA Freedom Foods Welfare standards, according to their website.
But the RSCPA has ensured that the charity’s sister organization has suspended the farm pending an urgent investigation.
The major supermarket giants quickly followed suit, pulling their stocks off the shelves, confirming that farm products would not be sold until the investigation ended.
Even the farm’s products were not accepted until after the investigation.
A Sainsbury spokesman said: “The welfare of our animals is extremely important and we are investigating these allegations.”
And a Tesco spokesman added: “These are deeply disturbing and unacceptable images.
“We expect all brands sold to Tesco to respect high animal welfare standards and we will carefully review the results of the investigations on this farm.
An Asda spokesman said: “We take our commitment to animal welfare very seriously, which is why we temporarily suspended the sale of these eggs following Tuesday’s news.
“As soon as we learned of the reports, we started a full investigation and are also awaiting further updates from the visits made by DEFRA, RSPCA and the British Code of Practice for Lion Egg.”
The farm claims to be proud of ethical standards. Claiming to have a “chicken-centered approach” and that they have only ever sold “free-range chicken eggs”.
A spokesman for Hoads Farm said: “All free range egg production is regulated by EU legislation which guarantees compliance with legal standards for free range production.
“The standards governing farms that produce Hoads Farm free range eggs are even higher, in line with those of the RSPCA Assured and BEIC Lion standard.”
They added: “All sites are regularly visited by independent bodies both announced and without notice to ensure that standards are maintained.”