The post here on The Foodie List highlighting Hugh’s campaign and the related TV programs have received 100 comments. This is not even the official site so surely demonstrates the passionate views held by many.
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the British Poultry Council (BPC) have responded by stating poultry producers are fed up with myths and misconceptions and stress that animal welfare is the top priority for poultry producers. The birds are their most valuable assets and that low prices on supermarket shelves did not mean low welfare on farms.
They say, “It’s disappointing that once again the British media is referring to chickens reared for meat as ‘battery’ farmed. This is completely untrue and our members who look after the national flock are fed up to the back teeth of hearing it repeated. Chickens reared for meat in Britain are kept indoors or are free range – they are never kept in battery cages.”
The NFU have a page dedicated to the issue where they state that
“we do not accept that the welfare standards applied in the UK to ‘conventional’ egg and poultry production are in any way unacceptable. There are millions of consumers for whom the price of food is a key issue, and modern production techniques for poultry meat and eggs makes food available to people at an affordable price without involving an unacceptable compromise in terms of bird welfare.
There is a very real danger that the current spate of attacks on conventional poultry and egg production could compound the economic difficulties of the industry, accelerate the threatened decline in production and lead to more imports. If so, it will be highly counter-productive, as welfare standards in the UK are higher than in any of our major overseas suppliers. We would be exporting the chicken industry and importing lower welfare product.
[Image from the British Poultry Council]