Protesters target Tesco store over chicken welfare
PROTESTERS calling for better treatment for farmed chicken targeted a supermarket in Glasgow yesterday.
Pressure group Open Cages held a vigil outside Tesco’s store in St Enoch Square to demand the chain ensures better welfare standards on the farms it sources supplies from.
The campaigners claim some farms pack chickens together so tightly that birds grow “grotesquely” large, and cannot support their own weight. The animal protection organisation has launched a campaign with a series of demonstrations around the UK hoping to raise awareness of the plight of chickens reared for meat.
“Currently, the chicken farms supplying Tesco use fast-growing breeds that make chickens grow so rapidly their premature bodies struggle to hold their weight. Using these breeds often leads to animals not being able to walk nor stand properly and in some cases, their legs can break,” said director of corporate outreach, Monika Jotautaite. “When birds cannot stand up and walk, they die of thirst or hunger”.
She claimed current farming practices only give chicken about the space of A4 paper size to move around in. Animals in sheds are packed in by the thousands, putting them at risk of ammonia fumes burns on their skin legs.
Last year Tesco became embroiled in a chicken-meat scandal after it was warned its supplier 2 Sisters may have breached food regulations at two sites, one at Coupar Angus, Perthshire.
Inspections by Tesco significant failures, with an audit at Coupar Angus raising concerns about “traceability” – an essential regulatory requirement, designed to protect the public. Meat processing companies are legally obliged to meticulously record when chicken is slaughtered, where it comes from and where it ends up.
Various animal protection charities, including Open Cages and the RSPCA have been communicating with Tesco since the beginning of the year, urging it to improve practices in its supply chain by signing the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC).
The BCC lists a number of requirements signed by 25 of the biggest European animal organisations that asks to have lower stocking density and bans the use of fast-growing breeds.
Ms Jotautaite said: “Tesco always say they ensure the best quality products for their customers, but if customers knew what Tesco’s standard chicken farms really look like, they would be shocked.”
The demonstrations are happening on the first week of this month in London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and Edinburgh.
Tesco did not respond to a request for comment.