BPC Comments on Chicken Welfare TV Programme

UK - The British Poultry Council (BPC) has responded to the TV programme, due to be shown tonight, under the title Chickens, Hugh and Tesco Too.
calendar icon 26 January 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

The British Poultry Council has commented as follows on on the content of Chickens, Hugh and Tesco too ahead of its transmission on Channel 4 on Monday 26 January:

We and our members have worked with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and his TV company during the last two years and it has been interesting to see his level of familiarity and understanding develop to the extent that he has moved away from advocating only organic and free-range farming to supporting Freedom Food indoor chicken production.

In the year preceding this 'round up' programme, we have seen spikes in demand for free-range and growth in the differentiation of indoor systems. As predicted, these changes came back into the gradually increasing trend we were seeing before the 'Chicken Out' campaign. We would expect to see this trend continue into 2009 in some of these categories.

It must be recognised however that the Freedom Food scheme effectively rests on top of the comprehensive Assured Chicken Production (ACP; Red Tractor) standards, where product labelled with the Freedom Food logo is also required to be underpinned by ACP standards first and by the retailers.

The majority of chicken consumed in the UK continues to come from flocks certified under ACP. British chicken is produced to a set of rigorous and transparent health and welfare standards under the ACP scheme, and these are independently monitored from farm to pack.

In looking beyond Hugh's campaign, we are focused on the future introduction of the EU chicken welfare directive. In addition to raising standards across Europe in line with ACP, the directive will focus not just on welfare inputs, i.e. housing, stocking density etc, but on welfare outputs measured at slaughter, which will allow us to accurately assess the welfare of the whole national flock.

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