Project 1882
16 October 2023

Systematic animal cruelty inside Sweden's chicken factory farms

Project 1882 has compiled all reported violations of animal welfare regulations in the four largest chicken slaughterhouses in Sweden. The mapping shows that chickens all over the country continue to be subjected to systematic animal cruelty. Project 1882 assesses that a systematic change is needed to deal with the serious animal welfare issues.

By requesting inspection reports from the Swedish Food Agency and the County Administrative Boards where the four largest chicken factories are located. Project 1882 has then mapped the reported violations of the animal welfare code in 2022, similarly to what was also done in 2021. The mapping shows that violations were discovered in 60 % of inspections, similarly to the previous year. Something which all slaughterhouses have had issues with was pinched wings and heads, high mortality in transport and corrosion damage from excrement.

What happens at the chicken slaughterhouses is nothing less than systematic animal cruelty. It is scandalous that they are allowed to continue their business with such major deficiencies in animal welfare, and without measures. The most important thing consumers can do to end the suffering for chickens is to keep them off their plates, says Benny Andersson, CEO of Project 1882.

Corrosive damage and high mortality in transport

The most common animal welfare violation for chickens in 2022 was Footpad dermatitis, sometimes so severe that it exposed the individual’s musculature. Several cases of chickens with skin damage were discovered in all slaughterhouses. This indicates high levels of suffering as the chickens have lived in such filthy environments that it has caused damage to their feet. Despite this, they are still forced to sit in crates for several hours while being transported to slaughterhouses. The second most common animal welfare negligence in 2022 was high mortality during transport. More than 1% of chickens died before arriving at the slaughterhouse.s, which translates into hundreds of chickens per transport, and hundreds of thousands of individuals per year.

I am shocked and saddened that our report shows the same, and in some cases escalating problems two years in a row. This mapping demonstrates that, in practice, the Animal Welfare Act is not enforced and that huge changes are needed to ensure that chickens will be treated in a way that meets the minimum level of the law, concludes Benny Andersson.

Violations broken down per chicken farm factory in 2022

  • Kronfågel AB’s main failures have been large numbers of head compressions and high mortality during transports. It differs from 2021, when the main deficiencies were inadequate anesthesia and poor slaughter. Kronfågel owns the largest slaughterhouse in Sweden, where approximately 55 million chickens are slaughtered each year. They have had the highest percentage of violations of all inspections compared to the other chicken slaughterhouses. With approximately 85 % failed inspections, which is a higher percentage than reported in 2021.
  • Guldfågeln AB, and Torsåsens Fågelprodukter, which supplies meat to the Guldfågel brand, main deficiencies during the year have been high mortality during transports and corrosion damage under chickens' feet. With approximately 38 % of all inspections showing animal welfare flaws. Similar types of deficiencies were reported in 2021, but this year with a slight decrease in the number of violations. Guldfågeln owns the second largest chicken slaughterhouse in Sweden, where an approximate of 40 million individuals are being killed each year.
  • Atria Sverige AB, which supplies meat for the Lagerbergs and Lönneberga brands, has had the most chickens found with their wings trapped in the transport cages while arriving at the slaughterhouse. There has been one report showing a lack of anesthesia and a scalding of a living chicken which also took place at Atria Sweden AB and in the region of Blekinge. In 2021 Atria had the lowest share of the all reported violations, but this year has ended up in second place with approximately 59 % of inspections showing animal welfare deficiencies. Atria Sverige AB has the third largest chicken slaughterhouse in Sweden.

Support our work for the animals

Project 1882 strives for a world where every life matters. By supporting our work, you help make that vision become a reality.

Michaela Lindquist

Michaela Lindquist

Press Officer