Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition to the CPS over their “inaction” on an undercover investigation at Gressingham Foods slaughterhouse.
Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition [1] to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) - responsible for prosecutions on behalf of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) which monitors UK abattoirs - over their “inaction” on an undercover investigation at Gressingham Foods slaughterhouse.

The petition, which is signed by over 71,000 people, was started by non-profit, Animal Justice Project (AJP) [2]. The story of their undercover investigation inside the UK’s largest duck slaughterhouse by Gressingham Foods was published by the Mail Online [3] in November 2020, revealing a catalogue of Red Tractor and government guideline breaches [3]. Scenes inside the abattoir were chaotic, with workers slamming ducks by their feet into metal shackles, grabbing birds by necks, wings and tails, yelling and arguing with each other adding to the ducks' clear distress and panic, and leaving ducks hanging on the shackle line for a staggering 14 minutes. This is no less than seven times the 2 minutes permitted within UK and EU legislation [4, 5].

Despite this, the CPS have deemed the pursuit of legal action against Gressingham Foods “not be in the public interest” [6]. AJP Campaigns Manager, Ayrton Cooper, says, this "emphasises a complete failure by the government to protect farmed animals from gross suffering and abuse”.

The investigation – which is the first time cameras have been placed inside a duck slaughterhouse by an NGO - follows another investigation [7] carried out the previous year by AJP at Gressingham Foods farms revealing crowded sheds of up to 12,000 ducks, some flailing and back-pedalling, unable to right themselves [8]. Eight million [9] ducks are incarcerated in barren sheds by Gressingham Foods, with no access to water aside from drinkers, AJP says. Carrying large '71K' props and an 8 foot banner, activists will gather outside the CPS, at 102 Petty France, London SW1H 9EA on Friday at 1pm to hand in the petition as part of the AJP campaign, ‘The Foul Truth’, which aims to expose poultry farming and move consumers towards plant-based diets.

Gressingham Foods supplies Red Tractor duck meat to major supermarkets such as Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsburys [10]. Killing around 8 million ducks a year [9] out of the total 11 million killed [11], means Gressingham Foods is the UK's largest duck producer.

Cooper says: “Tens of thousands of people have spoken out against the cruel killing of ducks and inaction by the CPS. It is a travesty that not one person or agency prevented the cruelty and law-breaking we filmed, and perhaps even more so that no action has been taken taken even after we have brought it to light. Despite what the CPS claim, it is absolutely within the interest of the public to know when laws are being broken inside farms and slaughterhouses.”

The campaign is backed by celebrity Evanna Lynch from Harry Potter who says: “I hope people will support Animal Justice Project’s ‘The Foul Truth’ campaign to investigate what is happening to ducks on factory farms. This campaign exposes abuse by the UK’s biggest duck producer, Gressingham Foods. The findings are heart-breaking and cannot be ignored.”

Dr Alick Simmons, Former Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer and former FSA Veterinary Director’ also supports the campaign, stating: "The Animal Justice Project video shows some particularly poor practice. There are several non-compliances which can be clearly seen and which need to be addressed.”

Animal Justice Project is an animal protection NGO campaigning to end cruel animal farming practices, and advocating for a plant-based diet.


Ayrton Cooper, BSc Zoology
Campaigns Manager

T: +44 (0) 7512 037157
E: ayrton@animaljusticeproject.com


[1] change.org/p/justice-for-ducks-demand-crown-prosecution-service- cps-prosecute-gressingham-foods-for-law-breaking
[2] animaljusticeproject.com
[3] dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8938843/Food-watchdog-seize-CCTV-Gressingham-Duck-slaughterhouse.html
[4] gov.uk/government/collections/welfare-of-animals-at-the-time-of-killing

[5] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML
[6] Per comms. with FSA
[7] https://youtu.be/hbmNotNnOLA
[8] dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7797511/Worker-Britains-biggest- duck-meat-farm-SNAPS-birds-necks-secret-film.html
[9] fwi.co.uk/livestock/poultry/takes-produce-quality-meat-ducks
[10] gressinghamduck.co.uk/stockists

[11] gov.uk/government/statistics/agriculture-in-the-united-kingdom-2020

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