Mixed reactions to 'Chicken Run'

PUBLISHED: 17:32 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:18 28 March 2014

January 2008: There are mixed reactions among farmers to Hugh's Chicken Run, the programme being screened nightly on Channel 4, about chicken production systems.

The British Poultry Council has said it thinks it is misrepresenting the high standards in modern British chicken farming.

Poultry houses are scientifically designed and equipped to ensure

the ventilation and other needs of the chickens are properly provided

for, it says.

It says it is significant that the temporary premises used to rear

chickens in this experiment failed to obtain Assured Chicken Production

certification, and the apparently poor welfare outcome is not


But writing on the FWiSpace discussion forums, some farmers have been more supportive of the show.

Freeranger said he hoped the show would remove some of the tarnish

from poultry farming's image as well as helping to push sales of more

welfare friendly birds.

I think (or certainly hope) the real losers in this are going to be

the supermarkets. By refusing to participate from the beginning and

also refusing to go on Jamie Oliver's programme they look as though

they have something to hide.

Animal welfare

Moore2 said: Even if programmes like these only shift people from

£2 chickens to £2.99 chickens that should be enough to make strides

in animal welfare and also margins for farmers, processors, and


Hareley farmer added: I saw Hugh being interviewed on Richard &

Judy. He mitigated the industry's reluctance to talk to him by saying

they were frightened of losing their supermarket contracts, which I can


I think that if in the long run he can persuade the public that

chicken should be more of a luxury product it can only be a good thing.

Confusion or discussion?

A number of posters indicated that the programme raised as many questions as it answered.

Courier asked whether viewers would be told how much it was costing to rear birds in the different systems.

This led to the following post by Jacobus: What I would also be

interested to know, given that the majority of processing-retail costs

(slaughter plucking packing packaging transport chill cabinet space)

would be identical per chicken whatever its source, does a much higher

percentage of the retail price end up in the pockets of the producers

or is much of it syphoned off by the retailers?

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