AN animal rights group has slammed the Government’s response to an Essex farm accused of mistreatment.

Protection group Open Cages released secret video footage from inside Moorah Farm in Great Totham which showed what it described as “nauseating” scenes.

Footage reportedly shows workers at the farm breaking chickens’ necks and hurling the birds inside barns containing thousands of animals.

But Governmental body Animal and Plant Health Agency said the farm was in full compliance with legal requirements.

A spokesperson for Essex Trading Standards said: “Trading Standards takes any allegation of the mistreatment of livestock or poultry very seriously.

“As soon as we were made aware of these allegations on December 16, an unannounced visit was made to the premises with an official veterinarian from the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

“During the visit the welfare, condition, treatment and mortality rates of the poultry were assessed and found to be in full compliance with UK and EU legal requirements as well as with poultry industry best practice guidance.”

While the agency is unable to comment on specific cases, it said it took all allegations “very seriously”.

But Open Cages chief executive officer Connor Jackson hit back at the response. He said: “We find their response no surprise. The conditions we documented are literally allowed by law.

“But just because something’s legal, that doesn’t mean it’s OK.

“Our hidden cameras captured abuse and mistreatment. That evidence is online for all to see.”

Moorah Farm is operated by firm Hook 2 Sisters.

A spokesperson previously commented: “Animal welfare is a top priority at our farms and something we take extremely seriously.

“We are investigating the footage showing the handling of birds at Moorah Farm and have a firm zero tolerance policy if it transpires a welfare procedure has not been followed correctly.

“All our farms operate to UK and EU legislation and are regularly independently audited and accredited.

“Our own welfare measures exceed minimum standards and our policies require the birds to have access to natural light and environmental enrichment.”