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#1 Tue 28 Apr 09 11:38am

Kye

Forum super champ
Member since Fri 04 Apr 08

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall challanges UK government

Compassion in world farming       


Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Compassion in World Farming took the Chicken Out! campaign straight to the heart of UK Government last week. Handing over a giant postcard signed on behalf of more than 150,000 supporters and over 200 supportive MPs, we called on the Minister responsible for animal welfare to take the welfare of chickens seriously through UK law.

To come in line with the EU, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is planning to lower chicken welfare standards despite soaring sales of higher welfare chicken and major shifts in retailer policies.

Set to come into place in 2010, this law could see even more chickens being crammed into already overcrowded chicken sheds - it would be the equivalent of up to 21 birds in a metre square of floor space. It effectively gives the green light to further intensification of chicken farming.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said: "People have become increasingly concerned about the welfare conditions that their food has been raised in. Consumers, especially those on tight budgets, rely on the Government to ensure that the food they have access to is of an acceptable ethical standard. The Government's proposal to reduce welfare standards is not only wrong but ignores this increasing public opinion and most importantly, ignores public interest."

Thank you to everyone who has emailed the Animal Welfare Minister. Please help us to keep up the pressure and urge Defra to take all possible actions to improve the lives of chickens in the UK.

For more information on the Government's proposed law, please visit chickenout.tv


TAKE ACTION

We need your urgent support to convince the UK Government not to lower chicken welfare standards. Please take part in our action today to show the UK Government how strongly you feel about this issue.

Around 70% of chickens raised for meat globally are raised in intensive industrial farming systems. This includes the majority of chickens in the UK, Europe and the US as well as rapidly increasing numbers in developing countries.

Intensively farmed chickens are bred to reach their slaughter weight in less than 6 weeks. This is half the time it would take traditionally. Their short lives are spent in overcrowded sheds with no access to the outside.
Inside the intensive chicken shed

Broiler sheds are generally bare except for water and food points, with no natural light. There is litter on the floor to absorb droppings which is not usually cleared until the chickens are gathered for slaughter.

The air can become highly polluted with ammonia from the droppings. This can damage the chickensí eyes and respiratory systems and can cause painful burns on their legs (called hock burns) and feet.

It can get very hot inside the sheds, especially in summer. If the ventilation system fails, thousands of birds can die of heat stress.
Fast growth

Undercover footage of a lame chicken
Lame chick

Chickens bred for fast growth have a high rate of leg deformities because they cannot support their increased body weight.

Because they cannot move easily, the chickens are not able to adjust their environment to avoid heat, cold or dirt as they would in natural conditions.

The added weight and overcrowding also puts a strain on their hearts and lungs. In the UK alone, up to 19 million chickens die in their sheds from heart failure each year. Across the EU, this figure could be as much as 121 million.
Overcrowding

Tens of thousands of birds can be housed in each shed. The 2007 EU Directive allows the equivalent of 19 birds per square metre. This means that each bird has less floor space than the size of an A4 sheet of paper.

Chickens in overcrowded sheds lack exercise, are disturbed or trodden on when they are resting, have less and less space to move as they grow larger and may find it more difficult to reach food and drink if they are lame. They are unable to forage as they would naturally. Crowding is also likely to lead to more air pollution, increased heat stress and foul litter.
Feed restriction of breeders

Some chickens are allowed to live until sexual maturity in order to breed. Their food intake is often severely restricted otherwise their fast growth would damage their health. These chickens can be stressed, frustrated and chronically hungry as a result.
Catching, transport and slaughter

Before transport to slaughter, broilers are usually deprived of food for many hours. Catching, crating and transport are stressful and can result in bruising and other injuries. Around 20 million chickens per year are already dead by the time they arrive at EU slaughterhouses.

At the slaughterhouse, chickens are typically hung by their feet on shackles whilst conscious, which is likely to be painful, particularly as leg problems are common. The birds are usually stunned by being dipped, head first, into an electrified water bath before their throats are cut. This stunning is often ineffective: the struggling birds sometimes raise their heads and miss the water, resulting in fully conscious birds having their throats cut.

There are more humane alternatives to intensive chicken farming.




 

 



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Last edited by kye in france (Tue 28 Apr 09 12:41pm)

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#2 Tue 28 Apr 09 11:44am

shammrok

Forum super champ
Occupation Growing things
From Up the garden path...Tasmania
Member since Thu 02 Sep 04

Re: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall challanges UK government

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said: "People have become increasingly concerned about the welfare conditions that their food has been raised in. Consumers, especially those on tight budgets, rely on the Government to ensure that the food they have access to is of an acceptable ethical standard. The Government's proposal to reduce welfare standards is not only wrong but ignores this increasing public opinion and most importantly, ignores public interest."


This is so true, and if the Swine Flu is anything to go by Governments should be ensuring the health and well being of our poultry and livestock not only for their welfare, but for the wellfare of humanity as a whole.

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#3 Tue 28 Apr 09 12:24pm

rhianna899

Forum champ
Member since Mon 02 Feb 09

Re: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall challanges UK government

Thanks for posting this Kye, it's really interesting  thumbsup

There needs to be a boycott of the the places that sell these chickens, I understand that the farmers are just trying to make a living, but at the cost of these animals welfare and happiness, it surely can't be worth it.  hmm

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#4 Tue 28 Apr 09 12:44pm

Kye

Forum super champ
Member since Fri 04 Apr 08

Re: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall challanges UK government

Just added the other half of the news letter that had been left in my mail box.... hmm

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#5 Tue 28 Apr 09 12:46pm

Kye

Forum super champ
Member since Fri 04 Apr 08

Re: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall challanges UK government

if any of you wan't to join the campaign..........


http://www.chickenout.tv/email-defra.html

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#6 Tue 28 Apr 09 12:53pm

rhianna899

Forum champ
Member since Mon 02 Feb 09

Re: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall challanges UK government

I'll definetely join  smile

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#7 Tue 28 Apr 09 1:01pm

Kye

Forum super champ
Member since Fri 04 Apr 08

Re: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall challanges UK government

thumbsup join onto his news letter too thumbsup

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#8 Tue 28 Apr 09 1:04pm

shammrok

Forum super champ
Occupation Growing things
From Up the garden path...Tasmania
Member since Thu 02 Sep 04

Re: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall challanges UK government

I am already a member of River Cottage smile

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#9 Tue 28 Apr 09 1:54pm

Kye

Forum super champ
Member since Fri 04 Apr 08

Re: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall challanges UK government

Me too now big_smile

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#10 Tue 28 Apr 09 2:08pm

rhianna899

Forum champ
Member since Mon 02 Feb 09

Re: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall challanges UK government

I always wistfully look at the river cottage weekends and dinners on the site and wish to go  lol

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