Shocking video has emerged of conditions at an RSPCA approved free-range chicken farm north of Perth.
Despite claims by Mr Barker Free Range Farms of strict conditions and constant monitoring, animal-rights activists claim the chickens are suffering from respiratory problems, burns and that some have turned to cannibalism.
Mt Barker chickens are sold to Coles, Woolworths and IGA.
In Defense of Animals’ Nadia Schilling said Australian consumers need to be guaranteed animal welfare because they were paying “a premium” for it.
“That they're being checked in on every day, they're not suffering from thirst, hunger, neglect, deformities,” she said.
Mt Barker Free Range Farms said in a statement it had referred the footage to the RSPCA auditing team and shown it to staff.
“We will of course reinforce our everyone’s commitment to animal welfare and double check the chicken house to see if there are bird deaths after the doors are closed at night,” the statement reads.
“The claims regarding ammonia burns and respiratory problems are baseless as we have shown but, we are focussed on continuously improving the welfare of our chickens and will increase our vigilance.”
The company said its “first rule is to keep chickens safe” and the RSPCA had conducted audits of the farm on March 2 and May 7 with “no corrective actions taken”.
To read the full statement from Mt Barker Free Range Farms click here here.