Bedford egg ‘mega farm’ has British Lion accreditation reinstated after welfare enhancements

Bird Bros' Sunny Farm, Swineshead, Bedford Borough. Image: Animal Justice Project
Bird Bros' Sunny Farm, Swineshead, Bedford Borough. Image: Animal Justice Project

A Bedford Borough egg producer, which was the subject of videos released by animal rights campaigners, has had its British Lion accreditation reinstated after making “extensive efforts” to improve.

Read: Bedford egg ‘mega farm’ under investigation after video emerges of “distressing and appalling conditions”

The Animal Justice Project, a prominent animal protection organisation, released footage in August last year, showing “distressing and appalling conditions” at Bird Bros’ Sunny Farm, Swineshead following a five-month-long investigation.

Now, after a quarter of a million-pound investment programme to make improvements across “infrastructure, recruitment and staff upskilling”, owners of the farm say standards of animal welfare at the site “far exceed regulatory requirements”.

The Bedford Independent asked Bird Bros if the improvements were a direct result of the Animal Justice Project video that showed hens in overcrowded and squalid conditions, and subject to physical mistreatment by staff.

A spokesperson confirmed that following the release of the footage, the company also carried out a comprehensive investigation.

Animal Welfare

“Some of the practices and conditions identified at the Sunny Farm site fell well below the standards we expect and ran contrary to our values as a business,” said the spokesperson.

“We have implemented a robust programme of measures to ensure standards of animal welfare at the site far exceed regulatory requirements,” they added.

“This includes having independent auditors undertake regular unscheduled spot checks, retraining staff and investing in new infrastructure to enhance the welfare of our hens.”

Bird Bros has also seen changes to its senior management, with Robin Hele, a previous director of the company rejoining the team.

“We are thrilled to welcome Robin Hele back. He has a wealth of expertise and will oversee all farming operations and a key time of change for the business,” said Matthew Bird, commercial director at Bird Bros.

The developments and improvements are said to form part of a wider investment programme for 2024 and beyond, which Robin Hele’s appointment is said to be “key”.

“It’s exciting to be rejoining the business at such a crucial time and I’m thrilled to be leading the charge across farm operations,” said Robin.