Saturday, 20 November 2010

The Great Chicken Debacle

Hugh has rallied for chicken welfare, challenging the mighty Tescos to change their policy and remove supply of battery chicken houses. Jamie also stood up for chicken rights and was filmed entering the appalling sight of battery caged chickens. This raised awareness, but these chickens are still on sale in our supermarkets. 

There is a serious issue about our value on meat generally. Most want it cheap, most want to eat it every night and as long as its presented in a familiar polystyrene wrap, most are comfortable with buying it and taking it home for evening meals. Thanks to the BOGOF deals of the supermarket and the 2 for £5 chickens, most have a perception that anything over £5 is expensive. Think again, how do you think the supermarkets can afford to sell chickens this cheap? - Easy, someone pays for it and its not them!

Pammy came to visit us at the School, she and her husband own a small holding, some 17acres down in Dorset, where she lovingly rears chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, lambs and cattle. Pammy started with birds.  Pammy rears her birds like family, allowing them to roam free, swim, fly and generally do natural things that birds like to do. This way they grow strong, robust, have a happy time and give you a tasty meal at the end of their life. Is there a difference to the supermarket birds?....First up, Pammy's chicken versus Waitrose essential range.
Notice the colour, the Waitrose essentials chicken looks pale in colour. The yellow colour of Pammy's bird comes from the Beta Caratin in the grass and the yellow grade depends on how well the individual bird can synthesis the Vitamin D (doubt the pale chick saw much sunlight). Look closely at the legs, Pammy's is strong and muscular compared to weaker limbs on the Waitrose bird that is likely to have been reared in on only 4 weeks to plump up for sale with little exercise. You can often also spot bruising around the limbs where they have either got hurt in transit or badly killed. According to the World Poultry, 2010 publication there is welfare concerns during the waterbath stunning. "It is beleived that in actual practise only 1/3rd of the birds is effectively stunned" Meaning pain and excessive distress caused. This is the most common method used in slaughterhouses in the EU and is also effecting the quality of our meat.  
See also the difference in their eggs....

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