PRESS RELEASE – 22-01-2008
A charity which helps to find new homes for „spent‟ battery hens, otherwise due for slaughter, has seen a huge surge in interest from the public after the screening of Jamie Oliver‟s Channel 4 programme about the chicken industry.
Jane Howorth, who runs the Battery Hen Welfare Trust, says: “It’s fantastic, since I appeared on Jamie’s Fowl Dinners last week, and Jamie pledged his support for our work, we have been inundated with calls from members of the public who want to provide home for ex-
“We’ve had 4.500 enquiries from people who want to give ex-battery hens the chance of a free range life – that’s 10 times what we would expect in a normal week at this time of year. The hens are really simple and cheap to look after and in return you get a supply of beautiful fresh eggs and the knowledge that you are letting them live as nature intended.”
The Battery Hen Welfare Trust, which was set up in 2003, works with the poultry industry and has so far found new homes for over 62,000 hens.
“Like Jamie, we support the British poultry industry,” says Howorth. “I get tired of hearing about cruel farmers who keep their animals in barbaric conditions. We spend a long time building trust with farmers. They get the blame for welfare problems, but it is up to consumers to demand higher standards and be prepared to pay a little more to improve animal welfare. “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 British farmers.
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, which was shown on Channel 4 last week, set out to educate the public about some of the basic misconceptions and realities surrounding the UK poultry industry.