PROTESTS have been held outside supermarkets after chickens are alleged to have died in scorching hot warehouses.

The Humane League group campaigned outside Co-Op and Morrisons in St James's Street on Saturday over claims that chickens died in 45C heat although Morrisons deny using the division of the supplier at the centre of the protests.

Co-op and Morrisons are listed as clients of 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd on the supplier’s website.

The group’s Hook 2 Sisters Ltd division was reported in The Independent to have been affected by the “industry-wide” problem of heat-induced chicken deaths in recent months.

The Argus: Members of The Humane League on SaturdayMembers of The Humane League on Saturday

The outlet reported millions of chickens kept in warehouses during recent heatwaves died due to heat exhaustion.

Cordelia Britton, head of programs at The Humane League UK, said: “This summer has been hell for chickens. While people made for shade and air-con, millions of chickens slowly roasted to death in their sheds.

“Morrisons must seize this golden opportunity and help chickens by signing the Better Chicken Commitment or become known as a beacon of animal cruelty. They cannot claim ignorance anymore.”

The Argus: A sign from the campaignA sign from the campaign

The Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) is a set of rules which aims to ensure the welfare of poultry in warehouse conditions.

It hopes to enforce the plan by 2026 and has been signed by big names including Nestle and KFC.

Protest leader Katherine Rawlings said: “Morrisons and Co-op are supermarkets which present themselves with an animal-friendly image.

“These birds are unhealthy, they are afraid, and they are suffering - will Co-op and Morrisons show integrity and sign the BCC or continue selling their customers the products of animal abuse?”

Saturday’s protests saw campaigners carrying placards which read “supermarkets sell suffering” and “beware: this company serves up chicken cruelty”.

Workers in the chicken industry told The Independent “millions” of birds died.

The Argus: The group also demonstrated outside MorrisonsThe group also demonstrated outside Morrisons

In a written statement to the outlet, Richard Griffiths, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, said: “Unfortunately extreme temperatures have led to very high mortality events in some poultry flocks.

“Industry have worked closely with Defra and other government agencies to support farmers at this devastating time and establish how farms can be quickly cleared and birds safely disposed of.”

Morrisons told The Argus it does not source from Hook 2 Sisters in England.

“Poultry from their farms is not within our supply chain,” a spokeswoman said.

The Argus asked whether products from 2 Sisters Food Group are in its stores but received no response.

Co-op did not respond to a request for comment.