UK poultry industry unimpressed by chef's tactics
British celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has returned to UK
television and states that his campaign to convert consumers to buy free-range
and organic chicken was doing well.
The previous series targeted supermarkets for not supporting high standards
of animal welfare. Now, the new series of River Cottage
top-end chicken sales were still increasing.
NFU poultry board chairman Charles Bourn said Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
campaign had an effect on his business, stating that an increased demand for
premium chicken convinced him to rear chickens to RSPCA Freedom Food standards.
â€œMy chicken farm was not making any money so I now grow the Freedom Food
chickens that suit a growing number of consumers,â€ he said.
However, the tactic to move people away from 'standard chicken' on welfare
grounds has angered the poultry industry. â€œJust because I grow Freedom Food
chickens doesn't mean the welfare is any better - it is just me making an
economic decision. Regardless of what sort of chicken we grow, they are all
looked after to the highest welfare standards,â€ said Bourn, reports Farmers
Peter Bradnock, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, said the
attack on 'standard chicken' was 'misleading and confusing' to consumers.
â€œBritish chicken is produced to a set of rigorous and transparent standards
under the Assured Chicken Production (ACP) scheme," he said, adding that because
it carries the supermarkets' own labels, ACP chicken meets supermarkets' high
standards of welfare, husbandry, food safety and environmental protection.
â€œAssured British chicken is identified by the Red Tractor mark on food
labels. The aim is to give consumers a choice of products that fulfil their
ethical aspirations, but also suit their budget,â€ he said.
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