Opinion: Hugh’s Chicken Run

I hope you “enjoyed” Hugh’s Chicken Run which aired last week on Channel 4 (UK). For those of you who missed it, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall set up his own intensive and free range chicken sheds and tried to turn the UK town of Axminster into the UK’s first “free range” town.

The three shows followed his campaign and covered some of the disturbing realities of intensive chicken production. In the end he managed to convince enough people to buy free range chicken that ~60% of all chicken sales in his “Chicken Out! Week” were free range.

Some of the “highlights” included…

  • The Tesco’s deputy manager mis-hearing Hugh and throwing him out of the store thinking Hugh had called him an arsehole.
  • At the very end of the campaign Hugh catching one of his helpers from the Millwey Estate buying cheap intensively reared “2 for £5” chicken. This type of deal is the main barrier to increased free range and organic sales.
  • Drunken idiots in a Axminster pub swearing their heads off at how stupid the campaign was and they couldn’t afford to spend an additional £2 per chicken to buy free range… …whilst they filled themselves with pint after pint of lager/cider/bitter costing ~£2.50 each.
  • Axminster locals thinking the whole campaign was a publicity stunt to raise awareness for Hugh’s new River Cottage shop (I must say, bad timing Hugh!). “I heard from a friend of a friend the chickens there cost £18! Can you believe it, £20 a chicken! There’s no way you’d catch me paying £22 per chicken…” (Although having had a couple of River Cottage Christmas Hampers I know only too well he knows how to charge)
  • Some of the reactions when people saw the awful reality of intensively reared chickens.

I liked the series, I think it helped raise awareness of the horrors of intensively reared chickens whilst showing that to some people, whilst they know what goes on, a “2 for £5” offer on intensive chicken cannot be passed by. Let me know what you think by posting a comment. Even if you don’t post a comment PLEASE sign up to Hugh’s Chicken Out! campaign by clicking the banner below. Free Range is Fairer!

Chicken Out! Campaign Sign-up

About itsfood

An IT Manager with an interest in tech (because he's a geek who enjoys his job too much) and food & wine (because he enjoys eating and drinking when not working).
This entry was posted in Chickens, Food, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Organic, Rant, River Cottage. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Opinion: Hugh’s Chicken Run

  1. Steve Barton says:

    I totally agree: great show highlighting an important issue.

    What (some) people seem to be failing to grasp is that Chickens aren’t cheap. If it costs £6 to produce a Free Range bird then that’s how much it costs. End of. I am quite partial to a bit of venison now and then; but I know it’s a bit more expensive than other meat so only buy it now and then; I don’t start whinging about the costs with hope that Tesco’s will start intensive farming deer just to keep me happy.

  2. itsfood says:

    I think we agree on a lot of issues, going to spend a bit more time reading your blog.

  3. Pingback: The Great British Food Fight Review - Chickens, Hugh and Tesco Too « ITs Food

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