Chickens, Hugh and Tesco Too saw Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall return with his fight to improve the standards of chicken welfare. After scoring a minor victory in the last programme Hugh took a slightly different approach this time. Rather than trying to convert everyong to free range or organic, he attempted to convince Tesco to change their “standard” chicken to at least RSPCA “Freedom Food” standard. With the Tesco “standard” chicken being one of the biggest sellers in the UK, a change to the Freedom Food welfare standards would mean a massive change in the way chickens are bred. Whilst Hugh failed in his “resolution” he did get almost 20% support which hopefully has raised the issue in the Tesco boardroom.
I used to be a regular Tesco shopper (a few years ago) but after watching the programme I can honestly say I’m proud to say I don’t shop there anymore. The way Tesco constantly gave Hugh the run around was embarrassing. Whilst I can accept the argument about the “economics of chicken sales” there is an ethical side to this as well. Tesco could gain a lot of support by changing to Freedom Food chicken as their basic offering, surely they can see the financial benefits of that? Whilst they do now offer their “Willow farm” chicken it’s up to us consumers to vote with our feet and show Tesco that we all care about animal welfare.
I ask you all to do one of the following:
- Boycott Tesco, shop elsewhere (if you can). We’re all more savy shoppers these days, there’s no reason why shopping in another supermarket can’t be just as cheap as shopping in Tesco.
- Boycott Tesco “standard chicken”. Either buy your chicken elsewhere or at the very least buy “Willow farm”. Support your local butcher, ask him/her where their chickens are from and to what standards they’re bred to.
There’s some momentum after this programme, let’s keep it going forward and see if we can make a real change in the standard of chicken welfare.