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Celebrity Chefs Campaign for Chicken Welfare

03 January 2008

UK - Two of Britain's top celebrity chefs are launching a campaign get consumers to eat more welfare friendly reared chicken by revealing some of the welfare issues in poultry production.

Jamie Oliver is turning the spotlight on the poultry industry

Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall have made a series of programmes outlining some welfare issues and the campaign has been backed by a similar move by the Royal Society for teh Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

In the new, hard-hitting series Hugh's Chicken Run, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall learns about the reality of modern poultry production and sets up his own intensive farm – revealing what it takes to enable chickens to be sold cheaper than a pint of beer. Hugh's Chicken Run will air on consecutive nights 7, 8 and 9 January.

On 11 January, Jamie Oliver follows up with Jamie's Fowl Dinners, in which he hosts a gala dinner to dramatically demonstrate the reality of how chickens live and die to put food on our plates.

In three hard-hitting programmes, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall explores the horrors of intensive chicken farming. The journey takes him far from the cosy lifestyle of River Cottage and into the harrowing conditions of running his own modern poultry production line.

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall exploring intensive chicken farming
Mr Fearnley Whittingstall said he plans to kickstart a chicken revolution in the UK. He wants to replace the cheap chickens sold by supermarkets at less than a price of a pint of beer for ethically reared free-range chicken.

He said that after the salmonella crisis of the 1980s, the UK willingly embraced free range eggs and now he wants to see if the same can be done for the broiler chickens raised for their meat.

The programme launches the Big Food Fight, a season of programming that aims to raise awareness and encourage debate about food production, animal welfare and healthy eating.

Having taken on the state of school dinners, Jamie Oliver is turning ringmaster also to tackle an issue that raises difficult questions about animal welfare and what consumers are prepared to pay for quality food.

The programme makers say that 50 years ago, chicken was a special treat that people were lucky to have once a week. Now, thanks to modern farming methods, chicken has become an easily affordable everyday staple, with whole birds available for £2.50 – but farmers make just 3p per bird.

With the help of poultry farmers and experts including Bill Oddie and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver has brought together consumers, producers and retailers to discuss how chickens and eggs are produced and consumed in this country and whether things need to change.

Live in front of his guests, he uses demonstrations, films and interviews to highlight key aspects of chicken and egg production, including stocking densities, growth rates and how chicks and chickens are actually killed.

He will be revealing the difference in living conditions for 'standard' broiler and battery chickens, 'enriched cages', barn, free range and organic birds.

Further Reading

       - See our story on the RSPCA campaign by clicking here.

ThePoultrySite News Desk



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