NFU poultry board chair James Mottershead has written to the Sunday Times in response to an article by columnist India Knight which criticised ‘cheap’ chicken production.
The article, ‘Every extra £1 spent is less agony for a chicken’, heavily criticises intensive chicken production and welcomes government incentives to encourage farmers to take up the Better Chicken Commitment, which was reported on by The Times a few days prior.
Ms Knight urged her readers to buy free range, more expensive chicken if they can.
In his letter to the Sunday Times, Mr Mottershead said: “India Knight makes several sweeping, unfounded statements about the production of UK chicken in her article, which could not be further from the truth.
“As a representative of British poultry farmers and a proud poultry producer myself, I know that the health and welfare of our birds is of utmost importance.
“The UK has some of the highest standards in the world, across all production systems. Over 95% of chicken produced in the UK is Red Tractor assured, which means birds can roam in naturally lit barns and have access to enrichments such as scratching areas and bales to perch on to display natural behaviours.”
Mr Mottershead added: “Chicken is an incredibly versatile, nutritious and affordable meat, making it a firm favourite on dinner tables across the country.
“Your readers should be assured that when they buy British, they are buying a high-quality product from farmers who care.”