Posted by keith on February 11th, 2008
I think by now everyone in the UK has heard of the £1.99 whole chicken being sold in Tesco, the largest supermarket chain in Europe. In fact I would be surprised if the news hasn’t spread elsewhere; such is the disgust being shown by many people who previously (had it not been for the likes of Jamie Oliver – see this article) would not have given a fig. In fact there are still many people who don’t give a fig that chickens are being bred in brutal conditions and sold as a bargain bin line; like this person who wrote to a London newspaper:
“I don’t give a fig about the welfare of chickens and I’m tired of well-heeled liberal bores in expensive areas of the South-East telling me what I should eat and how much I should pay for it.”
That is so obviously wrong on so many levels, but I would just like to ask the writer whether they are happy growing and killing their own food. If so, then you just carry on eating…somehow, though, I think the answer might be “No”.
There are others who do give a fig (there are lots of figs flying about), such as this person in the same paper:
“I’m on a tight budget, but I’d rather feed my kids vegetables than substandard, poor-quality chicken.”
Not quite a welfare evangelist, but sensible, all the same. Tesco, on the other hand, don’t have a leg to stand on. They say, in a press release:
“Tesco today announced it has doubled its order for premium chicken – which means there will be far more Free Range, Willow Farm, Finest and organic chicken available for shoppers.”
and then say:
“Tesco is also cutting the price of standard whole birds from £3.30 to £1.99 to ensure shoppers on a budget also benefit. This lower price will mean families can sit down to roast chicken and all the trimmings for less than £1.00 per person.”
Hang on! So what proportion of their chickens are “higher welfare”?
“This will bring the proportion of higher welfare chicken Tesco sells up to around 30 per cent of total chicken sales, an increase of 70 per cent compared to this time last year.”
Which means that 70% of their chicken is, to be quite frank, crappy welfare. They say as much themselves.
I’ll stick to nut roast if you don’t mind.