A UK duck egg supplier is keeping birds in dirty, “disturbing” conditions, according to a new investigation.
Animal rights charity Viva! recently visited Field Farm, a duck egg supplier in Lincolnshire.
The farm supplies Lincolnshire Co-Ops, as well as egg giant Noble Foods and Stonegate. The latter is a duck egg producer that works with supermarkets like Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.
According to Viva!, ducks were found sitting on “decaying” straw, feces, and urine. Despite the fact that they are semi-aquatic animals, who spend a significant amount of time in the water in the wild, they did not have access to water baths.
Among many other “horrendous” issues, hidden camera footage shows workers dislocating the animals’ necks and leaving sick birds to suffer.
Ex-worker: ‘What they are doing is disgusting’
Viva! states it became aware of the farm after an ex-worker came to it with a tip-off. The worker, who has not been named, said that the experience they had at Field Farm will “haunt them forever.”
“It shocked me that the ducks weren’t given access to water to swim on or even allowed to go outside. The most disturbing thing I saw there though was birds being killed by swinging them around by their necks,” they said. “What I’ve seen and what they are doing is absolutely disgusting.”
The investigation also reported that many of the ducks were struggling to walk, leaving them with no option other than sliding along the dirty floor on their stomachs.
While chicken eggs are the most common eggs on supermarket shelves, duck eggs are becoming more popular. They’re bigger, more expensive, and seen as a luxury by many consumers. But the industry is barely regulated, and unlike chicken eggs (which are still linked with cruelty), duck eggs are not certified by any assurance schemes.
Lex Rigby, Viva!’s head of investigations, said: “Duck eggs are marketed as a luxury food but the way that these intelligent animals are treated is repulsive – British consumers are being sold a lie.”