Supermarkets 'take action on chicken welfare'

PUBLISHED: 14:28 20 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:19 28 March 2014

January 18, 2008: Supermarkets have reacted to TV programmes about chicken welfare by announcing new
rules and regulations to reassure consumers of their commitment to the
highest standards.

Clebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh

Fearnley-Whittingstall have both launched campaigns exposing the

treatment of birds destined for supermarket shelves.

Sainsbury’s has announced that it intends to phase out standard chicken

and replace it with birds reared under the RSPCA’s Freedom Food rules

by 2010.

Morrisons has also announced its intention to expand its

current range of Freedom Food poultry and Marks & Spencer and

Waitrose have already pioneered better welfare conditions for their


Many producers are keen to improve conditions but are getting

themselves into a flap, saying they must have higher prices for their


It reportedly costs around £60,000 to convert a 100,000 bird unit to

Freedom Food standards. Charles Bourns, chairman of the NFU poultry

board, said: “Because of the high feed prices we are not even making 3p

a chicken at the moment and a lot of farmers are losing money."

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