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#1 Mon 07 Jan 08 1:46pm

rach100

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Member since Mon 07 Jan 08

Eating Better Chicken - The Times 29th December 2007

I would like to make a comment on the article in the Times on December 29th re Eating Better Chicken. I whole heartily agree with the article - however - I was shocked to see that the photos used all related to Egg Production rather than Meat Production.

You are doing a great deal to educate the public - however - the article rather lacked credibility as the photos showed hens in battery cages for eggs rather than showing birds in broiler sheds. The general public would probably have been more shocked had they seen a massive shed crammed with broiler chickens.

The battery cages shown in the pictures are due to be banned in the UK in the near future anyway - The Egg Farmers in this country have faced the problems and are sorting them out - so please do not penalize them more than necessary.

Last edited by rach100 (Mon 07 Jan 08 1:50pm)

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#2 Mon 07 Jan 08 1:51pm

Poet

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Member since Mon 07 Jan 08

Re: Eating Better Chicken - The Times 29th December 2007

rach100 wrote:

I would like to make a comment on the article in the Times on Decemebr 29th re Eating Better Chicken. I whole heartily agree with the article - however - I was shocked to see that the photos used all related to Egg Production rather than Meat Production.

You are doing a great deal to educate the public - however - the article rather lacked credibility as the phots showed hens in battery cages for eggs rather than showing birds in broiler sheds. The general public would probably have been more shocked had thet seen a massive shed crammed with broiler chickens.

The battery cages shown in the pictures are due to be banned in the UK in the near future anyway - The Egg Farmers in this country have faced the problems and are sorting them out - so please do not penalize them more than necessary.

Seems like 'The Times' are not the only ones who have their wires crossed.

The battery cage is not going to be banned as such, it is due to be changed to the enriched cage system in 2012. 

The enriched cage is not much better than the battery cage.  It's also still a cage!!!

The BHWT have the right idea, we have to prove to farmers that we will buy free range produce.  If we all make the shift to free range, so will the farmers, they will have no choice.

Farmers aren't totally to blame but neither are they blameless!

However, if we carry on buying cheap eggs and chicken, then we are perpetuating the misery.

Last edited by Poet (Mon 07 Jan 08 1:59pm)

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#3 Mon 07 Jan 08 2:09pm

Poet

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Member since Mon 07 Jan 08

Re: Eating Better Chicken - The Times 29th December 2007

just in case anyone wants to see images of both battery and intensive broiler farms, go here http://www.jamieoliver.com/jamiesfowldinners/

Trust me, they're not exaggerated.  We re-homed some battery hens so I know the condition they are in.

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#4 Mon 07 Jan 08 7:04pm

chixgbsdg

Member
Member since Mon 07 Jan 08

Re: Eating Better Chicken - The Times 29th December 2007

Funny that pictures of free range and organic birds don't appear on these sites.

The birds spend the biggest part of their lives indoors. They are raised for the first three weeks in exactly the same sheds as 'intensive' at 30 deg C. They are then taken to the outdoor huts at vastly different temperatures in winter and kept in them for a further couple of weeks. Then they are 'encouraged' to venture outside by placing their food and water out there. They are locked up before nightfall, so in winter they might only be allowed out for 6 hours. By the time they are slaughtered at around 80 days, they haven't really been out that much.

When they are in, they are fairly tight and don't enjoy the much more favourable conditions of controlled environment sheds.

Organic is a word being used as a marketing tool and believe me, there ain't much organic about organic poultry! They generally don't come from organic stock, they only have to be fed 65% organic feed and they are given more drugs than commercially kept birds because of the conditions they are kept in and they carry Salmonella and Campylobacter which cannot be controlled as there is no biosecurity.

Still like the idea of organic!

Last edited by chixgbsdg (Mon 07 Jan 08 8:42pm)

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#5 Mon 07 Jan 08 11:39pm

suzyamboo

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Member since Mon 07 Jan 08

Re: Eating Better Chicken - The Times 29th December 2007

chixgbsdg wrote:

Organic is a word being used as a marketing tool and believe me, there ain't much organic about organic poultry! They generally don't come from organic stock, they only have to be fed 65% organic feed and they are given more drugs than commercially kept birds because of the conditions they are kept in and they carry Salmonella and Campylobacter which cannot be controlled as there is no biosecurity.

Thanks for establishing some facts there

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#6 Tue 08 Jan 08 12:36am

Poet

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Member since Mon 07 Jan 08

Re: Eating Better Chicken - The Times 29th December 2007

Salmonella and Campylobacter are killed off in the cooking process, as long as the meat is cooked thoroughly, which it should be! 

Even pulses like kidney beans have toxins in unless you cook them properly!

I'd still rather eat a free range chicken than a sterlile, miserable, cruelly treated intensive broiler.

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#7 Tue 08 Jan 08 9:56am

chixgbsdg

Member
Member since Mon 07 Jan 08

Re: Eating Better Chicken - The Times 29th December 2007

Poet - As a chicken farmer (intensive or controlled environment as I would prefer it called) I take exception to your comment "cruelly treated". There might be the odd rogue farmer as there might be people who treat their pets badly, but generally speaking British farmers are the best in the world and have the highest welfare and food safety standards. If you called me cruel to my face I would probably flatten you as I take welfare very seriously.

Have you ever been on a chicken farm, whether it be indoor or free range? If an animal or bird is miserable, it is stressed. In that case it won't gain weight. Our job is to keep the birds happy so they do gain weight. That doesn't necessarily mean kicking them outside (not literally). There are lots of times in this country when conditions inside are far more preferable, especially if you can't put a jacket on. Remember, chickens are jungle fowl. They don't like being cold.

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#8 Tue 08 Jan 08 12:55pm

Poet

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Member since Mon 07 Jan 08

Re: Eating Better Chicken - The Times 29th December 2007

chixgbsdg wrote:

Poet - As a chicken farmer (intensive or controlled environment as I would prefer it called) I take exception to your comment "cruelly treated". There might be the odd rogue farmer as there might be people who treat their pets badly, but generally speaking British farmers are the best in the world and have the highest welfare and food safety standards. If you called me cruel to my face I would probably flatten you as I take welfare very seriously.

Have you ever been on a chicken farm, whether it be indoor or free range? If an animal or bird is miserable, it is stressed. In that case it won't gain weight. Our job is to keep the birds happy so they do gain weight. That doesn't necessarily mean kicking them outside (not literally). There are lots of times in this country when conditions inside are far more preferable, especially if you can't put a jacket on. Remember, chickens are jungle fowl. They don't like being cold.

I have my own chickens chixgbsdg and they can't wait to get outside in the morning, even in the Winter!  I know more about chickens than you think I do.

I've never been to a chicken farm but seen plenty of footage.  Would you be happy to open your doors to the public?  I might even pay you a visit providing you don't flatten me!

Last edited by Poet (Tue 08 Jan 08 1:02pm)

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#9 Tue 08 Jan 08 1:30pm

chixgbsdg

Member
Member since Mon 07 Jan 08

Re: Eating Better Chicken - The Times 29th December 2007

Poet - I used to show parties of school children round on a very regular basis and I've had visits from other adult groups and individuals and even the press! Unfortunately I had to stop about 3 years ago because of Health & Safety, would you believe and biosecurity when the AI came into the country.

Sky News approached me on Monday and I said I would make an exception for them as someone has got to give a balanced view to the series on Channel 4 this week. They might be arriving before the weekend.

People seem to forget that my staff and I work continually in the sheds. We are comfortable with the conditions which is a good indicator that the birds will be comfortable.

I am happy to give my honest views on the subject, but you can imagine why we're advised not to let anyone through the doors because of repercussions when everyone is up in arms.

As an example of extreme reaction. We had a visit from Tesco a couple of months ago checking on standards. They only found one thing wrong - we have a freezer where we keep any dead birds prior to collection for disposal. The freezer wasn't locked. When I asked why, they said that they had had a case where animal rights activists broke into the shed, opened the freezer and scattered dead birds in amongst the flock and then took pictures. It is now a rule in our Assured Chicken Production.

This is the sort of bad press we get!

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#10 Tue 08 Jan 08 1:36pm

Poet

Member
Member since Mon 07 Jan 08

Re: Eating Better Chicken - The Times 29th December 2007

I suspected you'd say no.  We only have your word for it in that case.  Let us know when The Sky News piece will be on, I'll be sure to tune in.

i would have thought the best way to dispel the view that this is a cruel way to rear birds would be to be open and transparent about the whole thing and allow people to film or visit. 

Even HFW met with closed doors, what message does that give out?

Last edited by Poet (Tue 08 Jan 08 1:44pm)

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