At Hose Lodge Farm in Colston Bassett, Nottinghamshire, England, due to the “Computer Malfunction” in the broiler shed ventilation system caused the death of over 27,000 chickens, and the firm is accountable for the incident has been fined over £44,000.
Leicestershire County Council says “The chickens were in a shed on a warm day when a ventilation system failed”.
“About 50,000 chickens were being kept in the shed when “the systems that regulated airflow, vital for the welfare of the chickens, failed”, the authorities added.
Hudson & Sanders Limited was fined at Leicester Magistrates’ Court. The firm admitted four charges under the Animal Welfare Act.
The Cause of the Death
Over 50,000 chickens were in a large shed, the systems that regulated the airflow which is very essential for the welfare of the chickens, failed.
The report says the inlets on the building’s side were closed. But, a fault in the system responsible for regulating airflow to the shed prevented the substitute tunnel ventilation system from doing its job. Since the shed got completely sealed, causing the inside temperature to rise rapidly. Therefore, this caused heat stress, suffering, and death.
An alarm sounded when the temperature in the shed rose to 37C (99F) and the staff was alerted, but council investigators said that should have been set to go off at 27C (81F).
The company had “failed to ensure there was enough staff to look after the chickens and they were not trained to the level they needed to be”, the council added.
Previously in November 2019, the Animal and Plant Health Agency vet had visited the farm and raised concerns about “there not being sufficient staff or a ventilation plan”.
The Company Pleaded Guilty
The district Judge Nick Watson fined the firm £44,000 and ordered it to pay the county council’s costs of £12,634.83 and a victim surcharge of £190.
According to the county council’s head of regulatory services, Gary Connors, “This was an awful but thankfully rare incident in terms of the scale of unnecessary suffering”.
“However, we hope the level of fine prompts businesses operating in this sector to review their operations to ensure they have adequate staffing and procedures in place to avoid such a distressing incident happening again.”