Factory life of ‘organic’ chickens

UK - Organinc chickens are being bred in conventional flocks, fed chemically treated feed and routinely given vaccinations, a Sunday Times investigation has found.
calendar icon 18 February 2007
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The chickens — sold in supermarkets at more than twice the price of conventional poultry — are being bred in windowless sheds and fed on a diet including nonorganic soya and fishmeal. Organic laying hens are kept in sheds containing up to 9,000 birds.

The industrialised production techniques raise new concerns about the practices of the poultry industry after the disclosure that the Bernard Matthews turkey farm at the centre of the avian flu outbreak was a haven for scavenging birds and rats.

“This is a sham,” said Ritchie Riggs, an organic poultry farmer and adviser to the Soil Association. “The big producers have got the standards altered to suit them. I don’t consider these chickens organic at all.”

Typical of the modern practices in the organic industry is a network of industrial-style hang-ars in the Shropshire countryside. They are used to rear thousands of hens kept for four months under artificial light.

Source: The Sunday Times

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