The British Poultry Council, which represents British chicken
farmers and processors, has challenged the RSPCA’s claims
today that there had been a huge change in shoppers’ buying
preferences for chicken.
BPC Chief Executive, Peter Bradnock said,”The RSPCA conclusion
from its own survey is misleading and is not being reflected in
the marketplace. The RSPCA is misrepresenting the good standards
already in place on British chicken farms to promote its own “Freedom
Food” brand and is ignoring the fact that the major retailers
are already selling British chickens reared to standards that exceed
the “Freedom Food” requirements“.
British chickens sold in supermarkets are reared to rigorous Red
Tractor Chicken Assurance standards, which cover both indoor and
free-range chickens. These Standards are owned and managed independently
from the chicken industry, and every farm is inspected at least
once every year by independent auditors.
The Red Tractor Assured Chicken Standards are more comprehensive
than the RSPCA “Freedom Food” brand requirements ensuring
high levels of farm hygiene and food safety for consumers, as well
as providing a protective environment for the chickens to be able
to express their natural behaviors.
Commenting further, Mr Bradnock said: “The RSPCA’s
claims about a sudden amazing change in shoppers’ behaviour
based on its own survey are not borne out by consumers’ actual
buying decisions in supermarkets. Free range chicken sales under
Red Tractor standards had been increasing consistently throughout
last year, long before the Channel 4 celebrity chefs’ entertainment
programmes screened in January this year “.
January 2008 sales for free range have shown a 35% increase on
January 2007 but only an 11% increase on November 2007, showing
there was already a significant growth trend. However, free range
chicken sales, at just 6% of total UK chicken sales are still only
a small, albeit growing, part of the national shoppers’ buying
The British Poultry Council is the leading representative organization
for companies and individuals engaged in breeding, hatching, rearing
and processing chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese to produce poultry
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