Pro­test­ers tar­get Tesco store over chicken wel­fare

The Herald - - NEWS - JODY HAR­RI­SON

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.

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