MORRISONS says it cares "deeply about animal welfare" after campaigners, including a "Frankenchicken", protested outside its headquarters.

The supermarket chain, which is based off Gain Lane in Thornbury, hit back after protesters turned up at the firm's head office yesterday.

Animal welfare charity, Open Cages, was outside the premises with images of deformed birds and a chicken mascot, and campaigners distributed information to staff members about the company's chicken welfare policies. 

The mascot, dubbed "Frankenchicken", was missing feathers and had bloodshot eyes.

Open Cages claims Morrisons stocks its shelves with genetically engineered chickens despite hundreds of other companies committing to phasing them out.

The charity says companies such as M&S, Waitrose, KFC and Subway have signed the DEFRA and RSPCA-backed "Better Chicken Commitment" which requires the use of slower growing birds raised in significantly less crowded conditions.

But Morrisons says its policy is in line with other supermarkets by committing to offer a range of chicken adhering to all nine of the "Better Chicken Commitment" standards.

A Morrisons spokesperson: "We care deeply about animal welfare.

"All our regular chicken is raised to above Red Tractor standards; we are also the only retailer in Europe to ask our fresh chicken suppliers to require chicken to be born into the barn in which it will be raised by 2025.

"80 per cent of our fresh chicken meets this standard already. We also actively monitor for any malpractice in our supply chain; we will never tolerate it or look the other way and if we ever find it, we will act swiftly and decisively."

Connor Jackson, CEO of Open Cages, claims Morrisons is being misleading and raised serious concerns about the welfare of chickens.

During the protest yesterday, decision-makers were invited to join the campaigners and have an “honest conversation”.

The demonstration follows protests at Morrisons' stores across the country last weekend.

A recent YouGov poll found that 78 per cent of Brits oppose the use of farming practices which cause animals to suffer in order to produce cheap food. A majority strongly opposes them.