Lidl House Tolworth

Source: Lidl

Lidl’s HQ in Tolworth. Protestors plan to camp outside in sleeping bags, ask Lidl staff to sign a petition, and ‘lampoon their chief executives’

Lidl GB is being targeted by campaigners for selling fast-growing chicken breeds.

Campaign group The Humane League is set to stage a protest outside the discounter’s headquarters in Tolworth, south west London, from 7am today (17 November) until 7pm tomorrow.

The group wants Lidl International to stop selling fast-growing chicken breeds and sign the Better Chicken Commitment, whose signatories already include Lidl France. The Humane League claims so-called ‘frankenchickens’ are predisposed to serious congenital diseases.

KFC, Nando’s, Greggs and Burger King are among more than 240 companies to have signed the BCC, but so far the only major UK grocers to have done so are M&S and Waitrose. It is understood The Humane League is targeting Lidl because of the inconsistency between its operation in France and elsewhere in joining the commitment. It aims to question why consumers would expect Lidl to have signed the commitment in France but not in other countries. 

The commitment’s requirements include the use of slower-growing breeds, more space and natural light, and third-party auditing.

Fast-growing breeds constitute around 90% of the UK’s 1.1 billion chickens raised for meat each year, according to The Humane League.

Protestors plan to camp out in sleeping bags at Lidl’s HQ, ask its staff to sign a petition, and “lampoon their chief executives with masks and cardboard cut-outs”.

“Lidl is a big supermarket and is growing fast; but not as fast as the millions of chickens it keeps,” said The Humane League campaigns manager Claire Williams.

“These unnaturally fast-growing ‘frankenchickens’ are burdened with shocking and painful health problems. It’s time to take a united stand against this cruelty – Lidl must sign the Better Chicken Commitment.”

Lidl GB has rejected The Humane League’s claims as misleading on the grounds footage of a chicken farm shared by the group does not show a Lidl GB supplier.

“At Lidl GB, we take the matter of animal welfare extremely seriously and have long been committed to increasing welfare and traceability standards throughout our supply chain,” said a spokeswoman for the supermarket. “All of our chicken complies with nationally recognised third-party standards, including Red Tractor Assured, RSPCA certification and Soil Association Organic, whilst our free-range RSPCA Assured chicken meets and exceeds the requirements of the Better Chicken Commitment.

“We work closely with our suppliers and industry partners, including sitting on the poultry board of Red Tractor, to ensure we are continually improving animal welfare standards, whilst also responding to what our customers want and expect from us. In 2019 we were proud to become the first retailer to introduce method of production labelling across our fresh poultry range.

“The transparent label outlines clearly the conditions in which the animal was reared, and we are committed to increasing the number of products from higher-welfare production systems over the coming years. We remain the only supermarket in the UK to have ‘Welfare Windows’ on pack. Last year we extended the scheme across more products and actively market this initiative to customers, supporting more informed purchasing decisions.”