On Friday 27 June, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall took his campaign for a free-range future to the heart of Tesco plc. Supported by Compassion in World Farming, Hugh recruited over 100 Tesco shareholders and submitted a resolution for Tesco's Annual General Meeting in Birmingham calling for improved standards for meat chickens.
Brief report on the events in and around the AGM
At the AGM
Hugh's team, Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA were all present at the AGM to talk to shareholders and highlight these failing policies on chicken welfare.
Meanwhile, Compassion in World Farming were also demonstrating outside Tesco stores across Birmingham.
The resolution called on Tesco to set new minimum welfare standards,including lower stocking densities and more environmental stimuli for the chickens. Tesco's current policies mean 19 birds can be kept in a meter square when fully grown, which is higher than the government's codes of recommendation.
Tesco asked shareholders to vote against Hugh's resolution - but in the event more than one in five didn't go with Tesco's recommendation. Indeed Hugh and Compassion's Tesco campaigns have been a huge success.
Lesley Lambert, Director of Research for Compassion in World Farming who was present at the AGM said, "Hugh's work for chickens has been a huge success. Chickens have never had so much press and free-range sales have seen a huge increase.
"The resolution has placed chicken welfare on Tesco's agenda, with Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco chief executive, stating Tesco are willing to explore chicken welfare developments further."
While shareholders were voting at the AGM, Compassion campaigners demonstrated outside three stores across the city calling on store managers to listen to the higher welfare demands of its customers and to take the message back to Headquarters.
The AGM received coverage on radio stations and newspapers around the country forcing Tesco to communicate to millions of people why the vast majority of its chickens are reared in cramped conditions. With more consumers considering animal welfare in their shopping habits this will further raise awareness among customers.
As the UK's largest supermarket, Tesco policies hold the key to improving the lives of millions of farm animals.
We will continue to step up our campaign against Tesco until they commit to improving the lives of millions of chickens.
We lost the vote but we won't lose the fight
What you can do to help
- Contact your local MP and ask them to sign Early Day Motion (EDM) 1917. EDM 1917 congratulates Hugh and calls on Tesco to upgrade its minimum standards to RSPCA Freedom Food. It also urges shoppers to boycott the purchase of standard chicken. You can email your MP directly at: www.writetothem.com.
- Donate today to help us tackle factory farming
We believe Tesco's statements to convince shareholders to vote against the resolution were misleading: Here's why... ( 35.81KB)