'Going cheap hurts chickens' was the strong message Compassion in World Farming took to a London Tesco store on Friday 8 February 2008.
The UK's largest supermarket Tesco is selling chicken for £1.99 just weeks after two of their competitors Sainsbury's and Co-op promised to end the sale of cheap chicken.
Compassion in World Farming is disgusted at this latest decision which shows that Tesco is not listening to consumer demand. The publicity generated in January by celebrity chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver programmes on Channel 4 saw a sea-change in consumer understanding of chicken production and a surge in demand for better welfare. Tesco is undermining consumer confidence by making the price gap between high and low welfare meat even bigger.
Compassion in World Farming Director of Research Dr Lesley Lambert accused Tesco of driving down prices. Speaking to The Guardian newspaper Dr Lambert said:
"Why doesn't Tesco drop their prices on their higher welfare products and make this affordable to people on all budgets? While Sainsbury's has committed to massive improvements in animal welfare, Tesco is showing its ethical credentials with this race to the bottom.
"Scientific research shows that many of these birds are lame and likely to be in pain and live their lives in their own faeces. Consumers have shown they will vote with their wallets on the basis of animal welfare."
Research published today in a scientific journal by Bristol University and the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) shows that more than a quarter of intensively produced chicken has difficulty walking.