Throughout August and September the Chicken Out! tour has been visiting towns and cities in the UK to highlight the unacceptable practice of the intensive factory farming of chickens and to encourage consumers to choose higher welfare standards when buying chicken.
Chicken Out!, led by River Cottage chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, is coordinated by Compassion in World Farming and the tour spans 39 days to represent the short life of an intensively farmed meat chicken. Local residents are invited to the events to sign up for a free range future.
The team has just four more stops left, arriving in Belfast on the 5th, Cambridge on the 11th, London on the 12th of September and will make their last stop at Axminster, Britain's first 'free range town', on the 17th of September.
Chicken Out! is outraged about the barren conditions that around 90% of UK meat chickens are raised in to bring consumers low price meat. Around 700 million broiler chickens are reared in intensive systems in the UK every year. Bred to increase weight rapidly, at least 25% of them suffer from lameness and discomfort related to their excessive growth rates. Millions of broiler chickens die from heart and lung failure, before they reach their slaughter age.
To date the Chicken Out! campaign has achieved great results, which include:
- 264 MPs supporting the EDM 581 for higher welfare standards and better labelling
- Sales of higher welfare chicken increased by 42% between December 2007 and December 2008 due to campaigns such as Chicken Out!
- Improved labelling and recognition of demand across some leading supermarkets
- Over 162,000 supporters have signed up for a free range future
"The Chicken Out! campaign aims to put an end to chickens being reared in unacceptable industrial systems. Compassion in World Farming is delighted with the achievements to date and hopes to continue raising the profile of the important issue of chicken welfare" said Lasse Bruun, Head of Campaigns at Compassion in World Farming.
"With such huge shifts in demand and support from the public, policy makers and retailers; the government must now respond by improving standards and regulations. We thank the thousands of you who have shown your support and ask you to carry on spreading the word."
For more information or to show your support, please go to www.chickenout.tv