The Price of British Chicken: How Supermarkets Are Failing on Animal Welfare
The charity Open Cages have released their report investigating the number of broiler chickens (chickens raised for meat) that died on-farm in Britain in 2021 as a measure of animal welfare.
According to DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) as of May 2022, 1.123 billion chickens were killed for meat in Britain in 2021. They are by far the most numerous animals farmed in the UK, accounting for approximately one-third of total meat production.
Their report found that 64 million broiler chickens reared on UK farms in 2021 never made it to slaughter and around 61 million of the birds died on the farm they were reared on, meaning they died from welfare related issues. This is roughly 167,000 a day and just under 1.2 million every week.
Open Cages are now calling on all retailers to sign their Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), a policy of improved welfare standards that prohibits the use of ‘Frankenchickens’ and overcrowded conditions.
300 companies across the UK and Europe have signed the BCC, including KFC, Nestle and Subway. It is estimated that 27% of the UK’s chickens are covered by the commitment. M&S and Waitrose are so far the only UK supermarkets to pledge.
Activist & vegan Chris Packham has launched a petition calling on UK Supermarkets to sign the petition, and this has gained nearly quarter of a million signatures. He believes ‘consumers would be utterly disgusted to know that a million of these intelligent, sensitive birds are dying every week to get cheap chicken onto their plates’
He added “The misery these animals face on a daily basis is unnecessary and would outrage even the most ardent meat eaters, because it serves no purpose but to satisfy the profits of our major supermarkets who refuse to help them”
With the rise in plant-based alternatives we can reduce our meat consumption to help these animals. Shop some of our chicken alternatives today.