chicken_out_250x250.gifAs Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has written:

‘Shopping and cooking seasonally is not a high-minded duty or a restrictive chore but a liberating pleasure. The downside of the modern food culture of infinite year-round choice is a kind of options paralysis – there’s so much on offer that you don’t know where to start. Understanding the seasons frees you from this ball and chain. In a world where the production and marketing of food have gone mad, seasonality is sanity. It implies freshness, good taste and even good health. And it offers the best and quickest solution to the never-ending question, what shall I cook today?’

Which nicely contradicts this garbage. More on River Cottage here.

I notice also that Jamie Oliver has bitten the hand that feeds… “Oliver has launched a withering attack on supermarkets – including Sainsbury’s, which pays him £1.2 million a year for endorsements – for failing to turn up to a debate on factory farming. In Jamie’s Fowl Dinners, he highlighted how some supermarkets pay farmers as little as 3p for a chicken. He invited the big four supermarkets, Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, to speak in a debate on farming methods, but they all refused.” from The Scotsman. 

10 Comments
  • M Henderson February 23, 2008 at 21:08

    I was one of you who believed that the “proper” way to keep hens was free range. I say was because when I started to keep them myself and my flock expanded to 300 I then discovered it was not such an idilic life we are led to believe. They have to cope with vermin, wild birds attacking and spreading disease, hens pecking each other because it is a bright sunny day, the list goes on. I can go into more grafic detail if you want me to.
    When I went in search of a grading machine I was asked to view birds in cages, I refused and then thought well it’s better I can speak from first hand experience and tell everyone how much better my hens are in the free range. How wrong could I be, these hens were singing to themselves in a contented way, there was calm, the system was clean as were the eggs and they had a beautiful bloom, the feed and water was clean(no poops in it) I was so convinced I bought the cages.
    I suggest there are few of us who live in a perfect house and so too for the hen, free range is far from perfect neither is cage or barn they all have advantages and disadvantages. Scientific recearch is showing we have 35% of hens in the alternative systems with 4/5 major old fractures of the keel bones, how much suffering has this caused, they often require treatment for worms and antibiotics. The ground they graze on becomes poultry sick. Scientific recearch also has proven that the caged hens are the least stressed and have the lowest mortality combined with the highest egg production which in itself should tell you that they are content. the first sign of stress is a drop in production. It is increadably easy to stress a hen and it is certainly not in the farmers interest to stress them, quite the contrary.I have only once in 17yrs had to treat my cage hens with antibiotics and they have had no other medical treatment.
    Their feet do not grow onto the cage floors, they are not covered in sores, they can spread their wings and if one gets out a cage I defy you to catch it, they can still run and fly up.
    We need to get off our emotional perches and stop trying to think how we would feel if we were a hen. We are not and what a hen needs is quite different from what our needs are. There ARE elderly people children and lower income families who DO need to eat, and a good source of economical nutrition is supplied by eggs from caged hens.
    We havn’t mentioned salmonella, avian influenza both spread by wild birds.
    Caged eggs will still be sold in the UK but will be brought from other countries who’s human rights records have a lot to be desired let alone the welfare of hens.
    What about food safety? What if we have an oil crisis? what about global warming?
    There may be enough ground to convert to free range but where then will we grow the wheat to feed them. and are you happy to have free range farm at your back door?
    There is a much bigger picture here and we have a responsibility to all our population as well as a responsibility to the hens.
    If you think you are saving the plight of hens then don’t .You are set to export the industry in 2012 and YOU will be responsible for hundreds of thousands of hens living in extremly poor conditions, as no regulations will be adhered to or policed as we have.
    60% of the population for many reasons buy caged eggs.
    Ask yourself who gets the most profit? Answer Supermarkets
    Who gets free publicity for “raising awareness” Answer pop stars, & celebrities.
    People should be left to choose and if we cannot produce a basic food such as eggs for ourselves I think we are leaving ourselves in a very vulnarable position.

  • John Rae February 16, 2008 at 19:53

    I’m an ex farmer and had a fair idea of chicken & egg farming, I’d even looked at going into Broiler Production at one point, but even I was more than a little surprised by what I saw on both the Hugh F-W & Jamie Oliver programmes.

    I’ve now moved to Organic Free Range eggs and chicken as a direct result of these 2 programmes.

  • S February 1, 2008 at 22:04

    I woud like to go a bit further, free range eggs are greeat and chickens get a “bit” more of space but not too much more…the diference is they are outdoors…

    The best is to buy eggs from a local farmer who you know farms the chickes with “morality”…

  • fifediet January 14, 2008 at 12:28

    If we outlaw bad farming practice we must also do so for imported foods. Otherwise the market will be flooded with foreign imports that don’t apply the same standards. This in many cases is now happening and is the main reason that many UK farmers are giving up farming. Much of the fruit and veg imported from abroad is sprayed with chemicals banned years ago in the UK and Europe. Animals are kept in cages which are banned in the UK. If we want to eat meat we should certainly make sure the animals are well treated. It is also preferable to eat animals that live outdoors on land that is not suitable for raising crops. I agree with the comment S makes that eating meat can have a large environmental foot print. This is not always the case though.
    If we eat less meat, and it is reared in a sustainable way on rough scrub land, then it is more a part of a permacultural ecosystem than conventional farming methods.

    Matthew

  • fifediet January 13, 2008 at 16:15

    I think a solution is just to outlaw industrial food processes which result in battery farming. The industry will always drive itself t the bottom level in search for highest profit. That’s the golden rule of business. Regulation is the only answer.

    As Joanna Blythman writes in the Sunday Herald today: “Back in 1996, when I reported on the foul and unsanitary conditions in which most of our birds are reared in my book The Food We Eat, this was new to consumers but already familiar, well-documented territory for animal welfare campaigners. In the intervening decade, similar “revelations” have become a staple for broadsheets, tabloids and every consumer magazine under the sun. So, if we really wanted to hear the message and act on it, then we would have done so by now.”

    Mike

  • Jane January 12, 2008 at 20:46

    Yes I know Jessica, I get my eggs via Bellfield normally and buy locally why else would I be visiting this site? But what pecentage of the population buy their messages from anywhere other than supermarkets? People haven’t generally got the time or inclination to go anywhere else and will just buy whatever’s on special offer.
    I like sainsbury’s full page press ads today – they got awards for most improved conditions but that could mean from really bad to just bad couldn’t it?

  • MickBelfast January 11, 2008 at 13:49

    I see Jamie has written a grovelling letter of apology to all at Sainsburys. I think it’s well time young Jamie stopped trying to have it both ways and decided whether he wants to be paid by the system which helped create factory farms or do something worthwhile and use his position to expose their dodgy practices. Otherwise he can’t avoid looking like what he is – a hypocrite!

  • Jessica Gregory January 11, 2008 at 11:15

    Jane —

    It’s also possible to shop in places other than supermarkets!

  • fifediet January 10, 2008 at 12:07

    Hi Jane – and yet according to the Independent this campaign is already having an impact:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/living/food_and_drink/news/article3310000.ece

    and accordig to this report in the Telegraph:

    ‘Shoppers could be able to buy only free-range eggs from major supermarkets within two years. Major stores have begun clearing their shelves of eggs from caged birds four years before the introduction of an EU law to stop birds being kept in tiny cages.

    The major supermarket chains will phase out battery hen eggs from their shelves

    Sainsbury’s, the Co-op and Morrisons have all agreed to ban eggs from caged birds while Marks & Spencer and Waitrose already sell only free-range eggs.

    All products containing egg will also use free-range varieties.

    The chains will phase out battery hen eggs over the next two years, before an EU ban on battery cages due to come into effect in 2012. Asda and Tesco have not yet followed suit, but have cut back shelf space given to battery hen eggs.’

    In Britain, “enriched cages”, which are larger and have a perch, nest and litter, will still be legal but Germany will also ban these cages.’

    More here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/01/07/nfood107.xml

  • Jane January 9, 2008 at 23:35

    HFW’s campaign was really interesting and a few people were converted in his programme but what can truly happen when the supermarkets control food production basically? They dictate the prices to the farmers and dictate what stuff is available to buy for the consumer.