The protests were led by one of the supermarket’s own workers, Doug Maw, who says he is being disciplined for participating in the animal welfare campaign.
It comes after the Open Cages charity released video footage earlier this month claiming to show footage of deformed and dying fast-growing birds at four intensive chicken farms run by one of Morrisons’ major suppliers. .
Protests took place on Saturday at more than a dozen Morrisons stores across the UK, including in Liverpool, Manchester, Dundee, Bristol, London, Sheffield, Reading, Cornwall, Bognor Regis, Isle of Wight and Glasgow .
Activists from Open Cages, Animal Equality UK and The Humane League UK urge Morrisons to sign the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) – a policy that bans the use of fast-growing breeds and aims to ensure birds are given light natural and more space.
The only major UK supermarkets to have signed the pledge are Marks and Spencer and Waitrose, while other companies include KFC, Nando’s, Greggs and Subway.
Connor Jackson, chief executive of Open Cages, who joined the protests in Sutton and Wimbledon, said the word many buyers used was ‘disgusted’ when they saw protesters holding footage taken during their investigation secret earlier this month.
“People were shocked that Morrisons was doing this because they were a company proud of their good values,” he said. The independent.
“We think this was intentionally misleading, because we’ve met Morrisons for a long time and made sure they understand that the Better Chicken Commitment is a holistic initiative – it has to be 100% of your supply chain, nothing less than that. not good enough, ”he said.
Morrisons employee Mr Maw, who works at the supermarket’s Bognor Regis regis and joined the protest on Saturday, said he was called to a meeting earlier this year and said a media post social media was “inappropriate” after signing a petition and sharing it on the supermarket’s internal Facebook group.
Morrisons denied silencing the worker, previously saying The independent: “In fact, we encouraged him to post his point of view on Morrisons’ colleague General’s Facebook page, which hosts a series of discussions on a wide range of topics, rather than on our store-specific Facebook site. focuses on local and operational issues. . “
In response to the Open Cages survey, the company added, “We care deeply about animal welfare and require all of our suppliers to maintain the highest standards. we asked [the supplier] conduct a full investigation and report to us.
Over a billion chickens are reared and slaughtered for meat in the UK each year, the vast majority of which are reared to grow at an abnormal rate, reaching slaughter weight in just a few weeks, according to The Humane League UK .
The organization said the birds can suffer from painful lameness and even heart attacks due to their rapid growth, and are raised in cramped conditions.
Vicky Bond, managing director of The Humane League UK, accused Morrisons of “seriously letting chickens in their supply chain shut down time and time again”.
“We know UK buyers want better welfare standards, so it’s completely out of sync with public sentiment,” she said.
“It is high time for Morrisons to turn their backs on this cruelty and make a commitment to the Better Chicken Commitment. “
The independent contacted Morrisons for further comment.