Top retailer Tesco’s fears that its AGM will be turned into a “circus” look likely to become a reality as a raft of campaigners attempt to hijack the agenda.

Critics ranging from animal welfare lobbyists to trade unions are heading to the meeting, at Solihull’s National Motorcycle Museum, in the hopes of influencing the grocer’s policy.

Celebrity chef and Tesco shareholder Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has generated swathes of coverage for his bid to change chicken welfare standards and raised£87,000 to table a special resolution to go to the AGM.

Representatives of US trade union UFCW, with the backing of presidential hopeful Barack Obama, who this week wrote to Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, were expected to turn up the pressure for talks about employee rights at the Fresh & Easy chain.

War on Want alleges that workers at Indian suppliers to Tesco are paid 16p an hour, the grocer is under attack for importing food from Zimbabwe and writers’ organisation PEN is concerned about Tesco’s libel action against Thai critics.

> Log on to this afternoon for a direct report from Tesco’s AGM.