Have you been watching the Channel 4 tv programme this week about Free Range chickens ? It was about a campaign by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to get us all to change our chicken buying habits.
He set up a poultry barn with one half Free Range chickens and the other half Standard Battery chickens. They were separated by a wall and obviously the Free Range chickens were able to go outside in the fresh air and peck about naturally. The battery chickens stayed inside, as battery chickens do.
Now, I haven't got room on here to go into the finer details of the campaign. And, after all, the team on tv did a far better job than I could. If you are interested then I would urge you to go to their website which you can get to by clicking on the Chicken Out link on the right hand side if you scroll down a little bit.
What I can say is that I found the campaign very interesting and really quite moving. I like eating meat, but I want to make sure that it is good quality meat, produced ethically. I don't want to eat a chicken that has been crammed in a barn with thousands of other birds, living ( if you can call it that ) 17 to a square metre, living in their own excrement, with burns on their legs from the amount of ammonia they are standing in.
If I have to eat less meat, but more quality, I will. If I have to plan ahead and buy a whole chicken so I can use every part of it for different meals, including making stock, I will. If I add more vegetables to my diet I will be healthier. I have signed up to the campaign by clicking on the link. You can too. The link will give you information. You don't have to sign up if you don't agree, but if you read the information on the site I think you will agree.
I went to the supermarket the night after the tv programme and went to the poultry aisle. I think that the campaign must be having an effect because there were shelves and shelves of standard battery chickens, untouched. And the Free Range or Organic shelves ? Empty. I asked for a Free Range bird and do you know what ? They had sold out.