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October 11 2017 Traditional Norfolk Poultry opens RSPCA Assured facility

 

Meyn's C02 stunning system installed at TNP's new state-of-the-art facility ensures it's naturally raised birds receive the highest level of animal welfare.

Traditional Norfolk Poultry’s new state-of-the-art 75,000 square-foot facility, which meets all Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Assured standards, ensures its birds are treated as kindly as possible.

East Anglia comprises the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and Cambridge shire, located in Eastern England. Large sections of the area originally consisted of marshland and bogs that were systematically drained in the 17th century. Today, the region is characterized by the flatness of the land.

Located on a small country road in the civil parish of Shropham, is the headquarters for one of the United Kingdom's leading producers of free range and organic chickens and turkeys: Traditional Norfolk Poultry (TNP). TNP grows and processes free range and organic chickens and turkeys to Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) standards amongst the unspoiled East Anglian countryside – while their purpose-designed processing centre, which is also RSPCA Assured, guarantees their birds always receive the utmost care.

Established in 1988 by Mark Gorton and David Garner, both men had noticed an increasing demand for free-range poultry from consumers; consumers who they believe, carefully consider where their poultry comes from, how it is grown and cared for – including the various types of farming systems used – and the way it is dispatched and processed.

Starting with just 12 Christmas turkeys grown on a traditional free range, corn fed system: Traditional Norfolk Poultry (TNP) has grown today into one of the UK's leading producers of free range and organic chickens and turkeys.

After years of continued success, and with animal welfare and taste in mind, TNP set out to create something new for the market that would set the standard high for all other organic poultry producers. The main criteria for this new breed were to have black feathers, excellent conformation, to be a good ranging bird with high welfare characteristics, and above all else, to taste incredible with fantastically moist and succulent meat.

Today, special breeder flocks lay the eggs that are then hatched out to provide TNP with day-old chicks, which are then placed on their own growing farms. From a very early age, the birds are let out to range in woodlands and open pastures, which closely match their on-farm environment with their natural surroundings. The birds can seek out insects, bugs, berries, and moths, and enjoy straw bales to rest amongst. To help keep them entertained, the birds also have toys to play with. 

"We believe if we get our free range birds' welfare right, their superior taste and quality will come through automatically," said TNP's co-founder Mark Gorton.   

TNP's new 25,000 square-foot facility, which has attained RSPCA Assured status, ensures its birds are treated as kindly as possible until the end of their lives. Every procedure starting with primary processing is tightly controlled: CCTV cameras monitor all areas where the birds are handled, staff are continuously monitored, and an independent veterinarian is on hand to safeguard the birds' welfare. 

"We are working with lines processing up to 3000 birds per hour, which is a figure we remain comfortable with. Operating at this capacity helps us to focus on the welfare of the birds, and not just simply output.   

"Even though we are a lower capacity processor, we still decided to integrate a Meyn Multi-stage CO2 stunning system into our live bird handling. This can be considered a disproportionate measure considering the size and quantity of our processing lines, but we stand by our mantra that no aspect of our birds' welfare should ever be overlooked or left to chance," said Mark.

When TNP was searching for the right technology for their new state-of-the-art processing facility, they chose the Meyn Multi-stage CO2 stunning system. In part, this was because the birds remain in their drawers during stunning, and the need for further handling or transport of active birds is eliminated. 

"These criteria were critical for TNP, because the system reduces handling stress, and thus lowers the risk of injuring the birds. It also ensures a humane stun and considerably improves product quality which our consumers expect. We are quite happy with Meyn's C02 stunning system since installation into our new facility in 2016," he said.

All TNP poultry is RSPCA approved, and the company is a certified member of the Red Tractor Red Farm Assurance Poultry Scheme, the UK's biggest farm and food standards scheme, covering all aspects of animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection. Their membership of Organic Farmers & Growers means that their organic poultry production is systematically monitored. Also, TNP has attained British Retail Consortium (BRC) Grade ‘A*' recognition and is a source of immense pride for the company.

For Mark, David, and their dedicated team, this small yet sophisticated operation has continued to expand over the years, so that today, major retailers, supermarkets, and other blue-chip firms are among its list of clients. Yet TNP has remained true to its roots since it was founded in 1988 – with the emphasis still firmly on producing free range chickens and turkeys, and organic free-range chickens and turkeys, to the highest possible welfare standards.

 

Interested in knowing more about Meyn's Multi-stage C02 stunning system?

Robbert Birkhoff 

T +31 (0)20 2045 468

E rbirkhoff@meyn.com

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Robert Bertens

T +1 770 967 0532

E rbertens@meyn.com

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