On Chickens, Localism and Ethics

  • 20/01/08
  • Comments: 0

I wrote a piece last week in the Guardian responding to the Scottish Govts food initiative, warmly welcoming it but also pointing out what a poor food culture we have. You can read ‘Food for Thought’ here. The main point I was trying to make is that we needn’t have to choose between ‘ethical’ and affordable food. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was also defending his campaign against factory farming. He makes the same point I was trying to, only much better saying:

“They’re calling us elitist, implying that acting to end the disgraceful treatment of more than 800 million animals a year is somehow an option only for the well-off. And that view might hold water at one end of the spectrum, where an organic, free range bird, probably raised on a small farm and sold locally in an independent grocer or butcher’s shop, can easily cost £10, £12 or even £15.

But a commercially produced free range bird, not organic, can be had in most supermarkets for a little over £5. And there is another – cheaper – higher welfare option provided by the RSPCA’s Freedom Foods method of poultry rearing. All the major supermarkets offer this bird or an own-brand equivalent, and these typically sell for about £4. As one of these birds will easily feed a family of four – twice, in the hands of a keen and resourceful cook – you could even say they are a bargain.”

Read his ‘Poultry is Not a Class Issue’ here.

- Mike S