Chickens, Hugh & Tesco too.

February 3, 2009

As a keeper of hens I was appalled with the attitude from Tesco’s regarding their poultry policy. They appear to be trying to make us believe that they sell chickens that are bred & raised with a good level of welfare. The minimum standard as far as the R.S.P.C.A is concerned, is the 5 freedoms standard. This is the standard I (stupidly) believed the chickens sold by Tesco’s were raised to.

After watching the programme (broadcast by Channel 4) ‘Chickens, Hugh & Tesco too’, I feel that I have been misled into thinking that the chicken I purchased from Tesco had been reared in a relatively humane manner. For this very reason I have sent a letter of complaint to Tesco’s, explaining my thoughts on the matter.

The programme showed with great content that it is far better to rear poultry using the ‘5 freedoms’ method, rather then the industry standard way. This is because the mortality rate is statistically far lower & more retailers want the product & this is because more people want the product.

It is a real shame that Tesco’s have decided that they should put profit ( & it is a very large one…. £2.8 billion, financial year end 2008 ) before the very basic welfare of poultry. It is reported that Tesco take £1 in every £8 spent in retail in the U.K! This is a figure that they are hoping to grow-on in the future.

As a father of 3 young children I find that my family spends on average about £500 a month on groceries (including most clothing) & about £70 on fuel. Most of this used to go to my local Tesco store. It would be true to say that we go through our fair share of chicken (maybe more then we should), taking into account everything we buy that has a chicken content. It is also true to say that most of the food products we consume are of a Tesco’s own brand in one way, shape or form. I estimate that my family eats around about the equivalent of 10 chickens a month (sounds a lot when I say it like that), but that is only ½ a chicken a week each for a family of 5.

If, as it was stated on the programme, I would have to pay an extra 90 pence per chicken consumed to enable farmers to breed to the R.S.P.C.A’s minimum standard, that would be £9 a month extra on my food bill (1.8%.)

The question is would I continue to shop at Tesco’s if I knew that I would have to find another £9 a month for a higher standard of living for all the chickens that are sold by the retailer?

For me there is no choice, I would happily pay extra & I would feel more comfortable shopping with Tesco’s knowing that they were not just a faceless, heartless, profit hungry business that does not want to listen to their customer’s voices.

So, I get onto the reason I decided to write this blog……. I ask, firstly for every ones thoughts on this matter & secondly that anyone that agrees with me (even if only in part) that they:

  1. Stop buying any chicken products that are produced using the industry standard (intensive farming). Remember, if the packet does not clearly state how the chicken is raised, it would have been reared this way.
  2. Stop buying your groceries, cloths, fuel & (from Tesco Direct) any thing else from Tesco’s.
  3. Truly think about this matter & if you feel as strongly as me about it, write your own letter of dismay to the stores bosses.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog & I hope this will change a few minds for the better.