Good news! Plans for million-bird chicken farm withdrawn following Animal Aid campaign

Posted on the 16th March 2016

Plans for a giant chicken farm near York that could have reared more than a million birds per year have been withdrawn following a vigorous Animal Aid campaign.

In September 2015, an application was submitted to build a giant chicken farm in Rufforth, North Yorkshire that could have incarcerated up to 288,000 birds at any one time. These animals would have been kept in cramped, filthy conditions, before they were sent to a terrifying slaughterhouse death.

In November 2015, Animal Aid conducted an undercover investigation at an existing farm run by the company applying to build the new ‘unit’, and uncovered distressing scenes of animal suffering. This included a pile of dead chickens outside the farm, left exposed to the open air; cramped conditions inside the shed, with very little space for the birds to move around in; birds with missing feathers and raw, sore-looking skin; birds with hock burns (caused by high levels of ammonia in the bedding), and birds slumping under their excessive body weight.

Following the investigation, more than 5,000 people submitted objections to the plans. The application also generated a great deal of local opposition, and objectors included the MP, Parish Council and Councillor for the area where the farm would have been built.

Last week, a report from the City of York Planning Office was released, recommending that the farm was refused planning permission. A decision was due to be taken by councillors in a meeting on March 17. Animal Aid was due to present a case for permission to be refused, and had provided councillors with vital information about the findings of the investigation. But it was announced today (March 16) that plans for the farm had been formally withdrawn.

Says Animal Aid Campaign Manager Isobel Hutchinson:

‘We are greatly encouraged that this cruel new chicken farm will not be going ahead, and we would like to thank everyone who spoke out and helped to make this happen. We do realise, however, that the application could be re-submitted at any point and will be ready to take action if this does happen.

‘As well as stopping the farm in question, we feel sure that our campaign has helped to open people’s eyes to the terrible suffering endured by farmed chickens, and would encourage anyone who has been moved by their plight to drop meat and other animal products and adopt a cruelty-free diet.’

Notes to Editors


  • See the still images from the investigation:

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