Andrew Wasley is an award-winning investigative journalist specialising in food issues 

The rise of the 'megafarms'

Intensive farming in the UK, by numbers

A major Bureau investigation has revealed the changing face of British farming. The number of intensive farms in the UK has risen by a quarter since 2011, with many so big they fit the definition of a US mega-farm. Below you can find all the data we obtained, analysed per country, county and type of livestock. It contains information on the five companies controlling nearly all poultry meat production in the UK.

Welfare in the supply chain

Why a million chickens are dying on the way to the abattoir

But campaigners and MPs last night warned about the damaging effects of poor welfare and demanded rapid improvements. Neil Parish MP, the chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee, said he wanted to see “immediate action” from the FSA and the industry to improve standards. He said: “It is essential that we maintain the highest animal welfare standards at each stage of the poultry and livestock supply chain - including transportation. Poor welfare standards lead to po

'A national disgrace': Catalogue of animal suffering at Scottish abattoirs revealed

Thousands of farm animals have suffered in more than 700 serious breaches of welfare rules in Scotland in less than two years, according to official inspection reports. Cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens have been found injured, ­emaciated, diseased or dead on arrival at abattoirs. Numerous animals were slaughtered while heavily ­pregnant or had to be repeatedly stunned before they were killed.

Severe welfare breaches recorded six times a day in British slaughterhouses

British farm animals are subjected to needless pain and distress six times a day on average as they are slaughtered, the Bureau can exclusively reveal. Reports by vets and hygiene inspectors detail more than 4,000 severe breaches of animal welfare regulations over the past two years, including instances of chickens being boiled alive and trucks of animals suffocating or freezing to death.

FSA: 4,000 major breaches of animal welfare laws at UK abattoirs in two years

There were more than 4,000 severe breaches of animal welfare regulations over the past two years at British slaughterhouses, according to data released by the government’s food watchdog under freedom of information laws. The data, comprising reports by vets and hygiene inspectors, details instances of needless pain and distress that include chickens being boiled alive and trucks of animals suffocating or freezing to death.

The rise of 'big milk'

The controversial 'mega-dairies' that divide a struggling sector of British agriculture

In a quiet corner of the English countryside lies a farm. It is almost completely hidden from public view - a private road leads up to the facility, dominated by several vast steel-framed buildings and conical feed silos. It is a scene that has become typical in Britain’s modern farming landscape - a livestock factory dedicated to the production of animal products with the highest possible efficiency. But these farms do not rear poultry or pigs. They are intensive dairy units...

'Small Milk' Farmers Challenge Logic of Mega Dairies

In contrast to the vast US-style 'mega dairies' appearing in parts of the UK, one Sussex biodynamic dairy farm says small-scale milk production can work, both sustainably and economically. But does it really stack up? Andrew Wasley reports The Plaw Hatch farm shop, nestling in the beautiful West Sussex countryside somewhere between Forest Row and Balcombe, is how shops probably once were, and probably should be again in the future.

The rise of ‘small milk’

Minimal gimmickry — no flashy signage, overpowering advertising, or misleading ‘2for1' offers on produce no one really wants or needs — lots of daylight, sacks and pallets, boxes, real smells (as opposed to the fake aromas pumped out by supermarkets to project authenticity), and — most importantly — piles of real food, unburdened, in the main, by excessive packaging or fanfare.
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Food for thought

How ‘ag gags’ attempt to stifle reporting of intensive farming

The taxi picked us up, as arranged. The driver had been paid well above the going rate for this and wasn’t interested in the details. Privately, he must have thought it was unusual. Ferrying two foreigners and a fellow countryman deep into the black countryside, dropping them off in the middle of nowhere, returning at a predetermined time unless– as we’d warned him — he got a call stating otherwise.

Could a Young Devon Farmer Hold the Key to Sustainable Agriculture?

The countryside around the village of Chagford, on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon, is the stuff of picture postcards. Rolling hills, thick forests, deep valleys, gushing streams, lots of farms. The winding, narrow lanes that criss-cross the region follow the contours of the land closely; when the hill is steep, the road is steep; where a stream or river runs its course the road simply cuts right through - quite literally.

The "dissident farmers" in the war on bovine TB

To passers-by, the red-brown earthy mound rising up from the path would probably warrant little more than a cursory glance. It looks like part of the steep bank which flanks the footpath cutting through this quiet corner of the Gloucestershire countryside. But the mound is actually a badger sett, home to an unknown number of the animals. Someone has crudely blocked most of the entrances with soil and stones. Spade marks are visible; so too are footprints.

Cannibalism and cruelty blight festive turkey trade

Evidence suggests some are being killed illegally, their throats slit without any attempt to stun them beforehand. Under law, turkeys should be decapitated, have their necks dislocated or be stunned with an electric shock to prevent unnecessary suffering. Yet undercover footage shows birds writhing in pain minutes after their throats have been slit. The inquiry, conducted over the past fortnight by pressure group Compassion in World Farming, will today prompt fresh calls for control of the unregulated sector.