Friday, 4 January 2008


I hate this time of year. Certain newspapers know that people enter the New Year with great intentions with regards to their health and diet. We are therefore faced with a plethora of stories and articles regarding our eating habits, or as in the case of today’s Independent, the production aspects of our food. Here are some incredible figures regarding the true cost of cheap chicken.

40% of all meat consumed in Britain is chicken

855 million birds are bred in this country every year

95% of these chickens are farmed in factories

5% - the percentage of chicken eaten that is free range or organic

50,000 – the number of birds contained in some factory sheds

50% - the increase in the rate at which birds are grown compared to 30 years ago

27% of these birds experience severe problems with their legs

19% suffer hock burns due to the ammonia arising from the urine on the floor

1 sheet of A4 paper: the amount of space that a chicken has to live in

20 – the number of hours a day that the lights are kept on

£2.50 – the standard price of a chicken in any supermarket

40 – the number of day’s a battery chicken lives

The Independents article does create a gruesome picture, and no matter what your outlook is, this cannot be right. However, let’s have no illusions here; the source of the demand for this type of product comes from the consumer. If the public wants to buy a box of chicken burgers and get one free from a supermarket, then battery farming will flourish.

Until we change our buying habits and preferences, then we can expect no less.

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