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Jamie Oliver and Battery Chickens

Two of Britain's best-known chefs have been supporting a campaign to persuade people not to eat battery-reared chickens. Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have made television programmes on the appalling poultry living conditions and the horrors of battery farming. They hope their combined efforts will draw attention to the suffering of the birds and the poor quality of the meat.

In some supermarkets, entire chickens can be bought for as little as £2.50, while recent figures from the RSPCA showed that only five per cent of the birds in Britain were kept in high welfare conditions. High-welfare birds are not necessarily free range or organic but they are given more space, a place to perch, better lighting and longer nights.

The RSPCA has urged shoppers to pay a little extra to ensure that the poultry bought has been bred in decent conditions and has called for retailers to sell only higher welfare chicken. Of the 855 million chickens reared for their meat in Britain every year, the majority are kept in cramped, dimly-lit spaces.

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