We love chicken! And apparently so do a lot of people across the UK. Chicken shops are bubbling up on our high streets, and people are flocking to them.
This is great news for chicken farmers who have seen demand boom. According to British Poultry Council, poultry makes up almost half of our entire meat consumption. Rising from just over a third 20 years ago, they say our love of chicken remains on a quick and growing pace. We eat our way through 2.2 million chickens a day, 70 per cent of which are reared in the UK.
But while we’ve been gobbling, chickens have been having a tougher time. The number of higher-welfare chickens in the UK has dipped to its lowest in a decade.
What that means is we’re eating more and more birds that, mostly, have never seen the light of day – as they’re packed in lightless, dense barns. And, having been bred and fed to deliver maximum meat in the minimum amount of time, they live their short lives in crippled bodies that serve up pain and suffering with their every move. As the Guardian put it in a recent article on the issue: “By day nine, the broiler’s legs can barely keep its oversized breast off the ground. By day 11, it is puffed up to double the size of its cousin. It looks like an obese nine-year-old standing on the legs of a five-year-old. By day 35 [these chickens] look more like a weightlifter on steroids and dwarfs the egg-laying hen.”
What’s worse, one of the biggest sellers of chickens raised by these minimal welfare standards are those very chickens we’ve been gobbling up at high street chicken shops.
In this week’s #FridayNightFeast, Jamie and Jimmy look at the problem – and ask if this is really what we all want? Wouldn’t we rather eat better tasting, happier chickens? Don’t farmers want to farm without cruelty? Don’t high street shops want a happier story to tell about their product, and to sell better tasting chicken that keeps people coming back for more?
We’re pretty sure we actually all want the same thing. We reckon it’s time for free-range chicken to hit our high streets, along with other higher welfare and regular free-range options too.
So, chicken lovers of the world unite – and tell your favourite chicken shops that this is what you want. Learn more on #FridayNightFeast, and get the facts from the RSPCA.
Help us get the word out by telling us on Twitter & Facebook that you want a #FoodRevolution for chicken!