The UK poultry industry under the spotlight

Posted 7th January 2008 06:53pm by

PRESS RELEASE – 07-01-2008

An appearance on Jamie’s Fowl Dinners gives fresh thinking hen charity the platform to speak their mind.  Responsibility for battery farming and broiler production lies not with the farmer, but with the consumer claims national hen charity, the Battery Hen Welfare Trust. “It’s simple: if we shut down British production, we shift the problem overseas, killing our own industry and at the same time pushing welfare out of our control. If we want to see better welfare for laying hens and broilers, we need to start supporting those British farmers who do the job well and we need to give encouragement and confidence to British farmers who are looking to invest for the future” says Jane Howorth, founder of the Battery Hen Welfare Trust, the UK’s only registered charity for ex-battery hens.

The Trust was formed in October 2003 by Howorth and since then 62,314 hens destined for slaughter have found free range retirement homes as family pets. The charity prides itself on building excellent working relationships with an industry that has long been considered controversial.

“I get tired of hearing about cruel farmers who keep their animals in barbaric conditions.  When I started the charity it was clear to me that a new approach was needed to the thorny subject of caged egg production. Farmers have for decades endured the wrath of the media and yet at no time has the consumer considered their role in how these animals are farmed. Every farmer we deal with is initially wary of our intentions, but as the relationship builds we encounter only co-operation and courteousness. We take great care to understand their position within the marketplace and offer them complete confidentiality to prevent extremist backlash.” states Howorth.

There are currently 20 million laying hens in cages in the UK alone and most of their eggs end up hidden in processed food products. Howorth believes many would choose high welfare products containing free range eggs given the choice.

Jamie’s Fowl Dinners sets out to educate the public about some of the basic misconceptions and realities surrounding the UK poultry industry. Through videos and interviews he outlines how egg and meat production is carried out and puts the choice squarely on the shoulders of the consumer.  Eat cheap and accept lower welfare or spend a little more and raise the standard of living for these sentient creatures. It’s a campaign the Trust began four years ago and Jamie powerfully drives home – get patriotic: buy British and buy high welfare.

To find out more or to support the work of the British Hen Welfare Trust please email info@bhwt.org.uk, log on to www.bhwt.org.uk or tel: 01884 860084.