||A dying duckling at an M&S supplier’s
Marks & Spencer Exposed: Viva! investigation
reveals misery for M&S ducks
A Viva! undercover investigation into Manor Farm Ducklings, a main supplier
of duck meat to Marks & Spencer, has revealed severe animal suffering.
This should seriously embarrass the High Street chain, which claims to
have high animal welfare standards. Viva! secretly visited duck farms in
Norfolk supplying Manor Farm Ducklings, one of the biggest duck meat producers
in the area. Our investigators filmed:
Ducks crammed into dirty, stinking sheds in their thousands.
- Birds incapable of walking, dragging themselves along by their wings
water in which to bathe or preen.
- A little duckling trapped behind
machinery, left to die.
- Countless disabled birds, thrashing around
on their backs in distress, unable to right themselves
- Filthy feathers,
infections and sores.
- Dying and dejected birds surrounded by
Our investigators uncovered distressing conditions at both farms. At one
site, the only access to water was from rows of ‘nipple drinkers’,
originally developed for chickens. It wasn’t much better at the second
site where again access to water was severely restricted. ‘Bell drinkers’ usually
provide a water depth of just 5-7.5cms (2-3in.), which makes head immersion
At Site One we found wall charts that had not been filled in, indicating
that staff had failed to inspect stock the recommended three times
a day. Used packets Amoxinsol 100 antibiotic were scattered on
the floor and remained
there during the three days we filmed. Areas of the shed were wet
with slurry and no fresh litter was added during the time of filming.
injured birds had not been removed and were left to suffer, dying
in their own excreta. Dead birds had been left amongst the living,
some of which
were in the process of decomposition. Those corpses that had been
collected were dumped in a pile inside the main shed - outside
the meal store - or
actually inside the meal store. They were not in rodent-proof containers
and were a magnet for scavengers.
Sadly, many of these scenes are familiar as they are similar to
other factory farms we have investigated but standards on these
farms were particularly
|The ducks at Manor Farm were crammed into the
shed in their thousands
Manor Farm Ducklings is a family-run company founded over 45
years ago with an annual turnover in excess of £18 million. They supply
duck meat to Marks & Spencer and other UK supermarkets, including Safeway
and Iceland, from their ‘state-of-the-art processing plant’.
Promotional literature is laced with hyperbole – ‘the welfare
of birds is a particular concern’ and ‘high-quality birds are
reared and processed by maintaining the very best of traditional standards
in animal welfare’. This PR spin cannot put an acceptable face on
an ugly industry. Our filming shows neglect and suffering on an unacceptable
level. We did not specifically seek out these two Manor Farm Ducklings
sites as particularly bad examples but having discovered such low animal
welfare and hygiene standards, we have no reason to presume that things
will be any better at the company’s other factory farms. All Marks & Spencer
duck meat comes from intensive units and must throw into doubt their claim
to operate ‘strict selection criteria’. Their righteous statement: “Our
customers have the right to expect that any animals involved in the production
of Marks & Spencer food items are treated with respect” also
rings more than a little hollow.
As one of Manor Farm Ducklings’ main customers, Marks & Spencer
have responsibility for the conditions our investigations uncovered. Sadly,
they are not the only culprits as other supermarkets also sell intensively-reared
duck meat. What glares out at you in the case of M&S is the gulf between
the reality and their marketing hype.
Please contact Marks & Spencer to register your protest at their involvement
in animal suffering, and ask them to stop selling duck meat.
Phone Customer Services on:
0845 302 1234
Or write to
Marks & Spencer
|Click above to watch Jake's story
|Photos from the investigation:
|A duck we found, unable to keep clean
through lack of water
|A disabled duckling struggling on its
back, unable to right itself
|We found decomposing carcases
|This little duckling had become trapped
behind machinery and was crying for a mother who would never
|Sheds were just as crowded at the Cherry