Computer error on poultry farm leaves 27,000 chickens boiled alive

27,000 chickens boiled alive on a Leicestershire poultry farm after a computer error

As reported today, Thursday, April 28, a ventilation system malfunction caused a computer error on a Leicestershire poultry farm, resulting in 27,000 chickens being boiled alive. The judge at Leicester Magistrates’ Court described the incident as ‘a disaster’.

A fine of £44,000 was imposed on Hudson & Sanders, the firm that was managing Hose Lodge Farm in Colston Bassett almost two years ago, at the time of the event. The prosecution was brought against them by Leicestershire County Council.

A fault reportedly occurred in the system that was regulating the airflow to around 50,000 chickens. As a result, the temperature inside the facility climbed quickly, with more than 50 per cent of the animals dying.

When the heat reached 37°C the farm’s staff were alerted by an alarm that sounded, but the court was told that this alarm should have been set to trigger at 27°C. By the time the alarm went off, more than half of the chickens had perished, while those that survived would still have suffered terribly the court heard.

With the fault in the ventilation system causing the heat to rise so drastically, the court was told how the stricken animals that were being reared for their meat would have endured heat stress, combined with unnecessary suffering and death.

Hudson & Sanders was accused by Trading Standards of not having adequately trained staff, who were also undermanned. They claimed the staff on duty were not capable of handling such a situation.

The court was told that the company had an immaculate reputation in the industry, with no previous convictions for animal welfare. They pleaded guilty to four charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. 

A vet from the Animal and Plant Health Agency had reportedly raised their concerns about the ventilation system, and the shortage of staff, when they visited the farm six months previous to the incident.

‘This was an awful but thankfully rare incident in terms of the scale of unnecessary suffering”, commented Leicestershire County Councillor, Gary Connors.

“However, we hope the level of fine prompts businesses operating in this sector to review their operations to ensure they have adequate staffing and procedures in place to avoid such a distressing incident happening again”, he added, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at