9 Jul, 2019 @ 09:30
1 min read

Activists say one of Mercadona’s biggest free-range egg producers is ‘lying’ about welfare after 39 sick hens rescued from giant barn in Valencia

ENVIRONMENTAL activists have stormed one of Spain’s biggest egg producers, accusing the company of ‘lying’ after free-range hens were found in ‘terrible conditions’ near Valencia.

Scores of activists entered the Huevos Guillen farm in Sinarcas last week for an ‘open rescue’ of the allegedly ‘fake free-range’ chickens.

One of the campaigners claimed the hens ‘had no access’ to the outdoors while many had lost their feathers and had ‘extremely pale combs’.

‘IT WAS HORRIBLE’: Activist Marc Brimble said many chickens had lost their feathers

“It was horrible. The chickens were completely stressed and the noise was indescribable,” Marc Brimble, an English teacher living in Valencia, told the Olive Press.

“The chickens are supposedly running free, but it’s clear the public is being lied to.”

Brimble said he had taken part as an ‘independent activist’ undertaking an ‘open rescue’ that was done without criminal damage or masks.

He said the animal rights group rescued 39 of the ‘sickest’ hens, one of whom died before a vet could be reached.

RESPONSE: A spokesperson for Huevos Guillen showed the Olive Press images claiming the hens were let out ‘every day’

Grupo Huevos Guillen’s website states the company is regulated under the European Model of Egg Production – which, according to the European Union Council Directive 1999/74/EC, mandates daily access to the outdoors.

The company operates 11 farms across Spain, keeping six million chickens for an annual crop of 157 million boxes of a dozen eggs.

“Our free-range hens are outdoors from late morning until sunset, according to European legislation,” a spokesperson for Huevos Guillen told the Olive Press.

The spokesperson added that hens ‘lose their feathers’ with age, and that the breed of chicken had ‘naturally pale’ combs.

Joshua Parfitt

Joshua James Parfitt is the Costa Blanca correspondent for the Olive Press. He holds a gold-standard NCTJ in multimedia journalism from the award-winning News Associates in Twickenham. His work has been published in the Sunday Times, Esquire, the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Sun on Sunday, the Mirror, among others. He has appeared on BBC Breakfast to discuss devastating flooding in Spain, as well as making appearances on BBC and LBC radio stations.

Contact me now: [email protected] or call +44 07960046259. Twitter: @jjparfitt

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