The British Poultry Council (BPC) has responded to a critical article published in The Guardian, highlighting the growth of large poultry farms across the UK. The article suggests large scale production is linked to poor animal welfare and has attracted thousands of online comments from worried consumers.
In response, the BPC has issued a statement describing how poultry farms operate and arguing animal welfare has nothing to do with the size of the farm.
“When did large-scale farming done to a high standard become such a bad thing? We are proud of the standards maintained by our farmers up and down the country.
“British poultry meat farmers and businesses are very good at putting safe, wholesome and affordable food on the table of every UK household. Nearly one billion birds are reared for food every year, and half the meat that the country eats.
“We as a sector stand committed to feeding the nation with nutritious food with no compromise on standards. Our farming is demand driven, based on what consumers can afford to pay as well as on the availability of land.
“You can’t judge the welfare of birds based on the size of farms. It’s much more about how they are farmed and how you look after them. British poultry is a national success story because of good animal husbandry practices as well as an openness in the sector to accept change, encourage innovation and share best practice.
“You can ask our farmers about the ways in which they carefully control the environment of every single shed under their care. A great deal of effort is spent in ensuring that our birds get the right amount of daylight and fresh air, are surrounded by objects to peck, straw bales they can jump on, with perches.
“Our talent is carefully picked, trained and nurtured. The industry takes pride in employing the best and the brightest people who genuinely care about bird health and welfare. Close controls on our farms ensure that disease, pollution and the carbon footprint are kept to a minimum.
“We are doing everything we possibly can to feed the nation with the food consumers trust, carefully grown to high standards while maintaining bird health and welfare. We will carry on doing what we are good at and continue communicating in an open and transparent manner.”