It’s been while since I’ve reflected on the Chicken Out campaign being run by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
He’s been attempting to drum up support for his campaign to have better welfare conditions for poultry produced for meat for six months now and has 148,000 people signed up online.
His diary of the attempt last week to take the campaign direct to Tesco’s shareholders made fascinating reading in yesterday’s Sunday Times .
And while the resolution didn’t succeed, the fight goes on and this blog is fully in support of it.
It would be easy to dismiss the campaign as 1. a publicity stunt or 2. an indulgent debate for the middle classes to wring their hands over but I think there’s something more fundamental at stake here.
What the initial programs did was shine a light in a dark corner where the average shopper fears to look.
As someone whose family once kept chickens (hundreds of them, all free-range) what I saw wasn’t a revelation but it was a timely reminder.
It’s too easy to see the pretty farmland pictures on the supermarket cling films and push to the back of the mind what really went into producing that breast portion.
But, as Hugh’s efforts last week again demonstrated, the average consumer could be forgiven for thinking the packaging, labelling and different terminologies used are somehow designed to confuse.
So cutting through all RSPCA Freedom Food, free-range, premium, standard definitions it seemed to me that Hugh’s final resolution to Tesco was hard to disagree with;
“conscious that the Company’s Animal Welfare Policy endorses the “Five Freedoms” concept proposed by the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC), being: 1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst 2. Freedom from Discomfort 3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease 4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour 5. Freedom from Fear and Distress”…….”the Company sets a commitment within a fair time-frame to take appropriate measures to ensure that chickens purchased for sale by the Company are produced in systems capable of providing the “Five Freedoms”.”
Forget the marketing jargon, don’t we all expect that farmed animals have these basic freedoms? I certainly do so please note Mr Tesco, I will never purchase any chicken products from you again.
Frankly I’d rather not eat chicken again in my life if I can’t be sure of these basics.
Finally, seeing as I’m firmly down off the fence on this issue, I’m happy to give my blog’s support to
Kate’s Let Them Eat Chicken campaign.
I’ve sent her the chicken recipe which proved most popular on the blog – and my best wishes.
If you want to participate as well;• Post your favourite chicken recipe on your blog (or email Kate with your name, recipe and photo of your dish).
• Include in your post information about the chicken you used – where you bought it, what it tasted like etc.
• Include a link to the blog announcement.
• Email Kate your name, blog URL and a link to your post by Wednesday 16th July.