Waitrose has been caught up in a row over animal welfare after undercover footage revealed that ducks on a supplier's free-range farm had been subjected to cruel treatment.

Staff at Hall Farm in Norfolk, which is contracted out to duck and speciality meat supplier Gressingham Foods, were filmed throwing ducks by their necks, while dead birds were not removed from the flock. The footage was broadcast this week on Sky News.

A spokesman for Waitrose said the supermarket was “appalled” by the footage and had since terminated its relationship with the farm.

“The behaviour seen on the film is totally unacceptable and completely goes against the high welfare standards Waitrose expects of its farmers,” he said.

“As soon as we saw it, we suspended the supplier and sent in a vet. We have now ended our relationship with the farmer and they no longer supply Waitrose.”

The retailer added that it was now reviewing its welfare processes “to ensure nothing like this can ever happen again”.

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