Wetherspoon, Tesco and Lidl ban beef from mega farm amid evidence cattle suffered severe beatings and abuse

Wetherspoon, Tesco and Lidl have banned beef sourced from a concrete mega farm amid evidence of appalling cruelty and abuse.

Secret filming showed stockmen beating and abusing the animals at the unit, which operates from concrete-floor lots rather than green fields in a so-called ‘zero grazing’ system.

One violently threw a bucket at the head of a young bull sending him crashing to the floor.

Workers are heard discussing the poor state of the animals, suggesting that in the past some had been ‘dying left right and centre’.

The images were captured at Berryfields Farm, Daventry, which is understood to rear more than 4,000 bull calves a year.

As a result of the revelations, the farm has been suspended from the Red Tractor scheme, whose logo on packs is designed to be a guarantee of high standards for consumers.

Cattle from the farm are transported to a Foyle Food Group slaughterhouse at Melton Mowbray. The resulting steaks, mince and joints are sold on to customers, who include Wetherspoon, Tesco and Lidl.

Wetherspoon Spokesman Eddie Gershon said the pub chain would no longer be taking any meat from the farm.

He said: ‘We take animal welfare seriously and audit all our food suppliers regularly.

‘We are concerned about the allegations and have made this clear to Foyle Food Group.’

Tesco said: ‘These are disturbing and unacceptable images. We require all our suppliers to uphold high animal welfare standards, and have immediately suspended this farm.’

Lidl confirmed it has also suspended taking beef sourced from the farm following the allegations.

Historically, bull calves from dairy cows have been shot soon after birth because they had little value. However, they are now an increasingly important source of cheap beef in the catering, takeaway and supermarket trade. 

Filming was carried over a five month period by the Animal Justice Project. Spokesman, Claire Palmer, said it reveals a ‘catalogue of abuse and neglect’. 

She said: ‘Abusing cows by punching, kicking, throwing buckets in their faces, and hitting them with pipes can never be a kind option.’

A spokesman for Red Tractor said: ‘We were shocked and appalled by the footage of animals being mistreated. Poor animal health and welfare is always unacceptable.

‘As soon as we were made aware of the footage, we launched an investigation.

‘Due to breaches of our standards relating to animal welfare and livestock transport, Berryfields Farm certification from our scheme has been suspended.’