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Concerns over live chicken transport from Covid-19-stricken 2 Sisters plant

© Mhairi Edwards / DCT MediaThe Coupar Angus 2 Sisters chicken factory
The Coupar Angus 2 Sisters chicken factory

Thousands of live chickens have been driven across the country from the Covid-19-stricken 2 Sisters poultry plant in Scotland to be processed in their Welsh operations.

The firm’s Coupar Angus plant was closed on August 17 when coronavirus struck the workforce. Around one million birds are sent to the plant every week.

But the closure has forced the gassing of thousands of birds, with others being driven to other plants.

A source said: “Huge lorries with chickens are being driven south to a Welsh plant. It will be to ensure that there is a financial return on them. It is very unlikely that all the chickens will survive the journey.”

Unite Trade Union regional organiser Susan Robertson said: “It is a commercial food producing company and that is the situation. Profit very much matters. Many people in this area are dependent on jobs with 2 Sisters, with 900 permanent staff and 250 to 300 agency ones.”

Vicky Bond of The Humane League UK, said: “When transported like this, it is very likely that a number will die en route.”

A spokesman for 2 Sisters said: “The factory at Coupar Angus processes almost one million chickens a week and is the only facility of its type in Scotland.

“The decision last week to suspend operations has meant that birds due to be processed in Scotland had to be diverted to our wider network across the UK. All this was done to current UK welfare legislation.

“Throughout this process we have ensured the welfare of birds have been a top priority, so much so we have been in daily dialogue with the Chief Veterinary Officer of Scotland to update her on this operation.

“This has been a major logistical effort that has put pressure on our network in the UK, but our successful contingency planning has managed to fulfill supply and ensure all birds were treated humanely and with respect at all times.”