The Chicken Out! team are going out and about on a tour of a number of UK cities over the 39 days spanning between 10th August and 17th September. The tour will last the same amount of days as a broiler house chicken lives, from the day of hatching to the day they are shipped to the supermarket shelves.
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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Chicken Out! Campaign has turned their attention to the power of Britain’s MPs, asking them to show support for fairer labelling of british supermarket chickens. Hugh has famously been campaigning for better conditions and clearer labelling for standard chickens supplied in supermarkets, and a number of TV programmes have shown his progress as well as the problems he has come up against, from results of revised labelling of standard chicken sold by the Co-operative, to the very unco-operative Tesco.
The latest push for Chicken Out! is to propose an Early Day Motion, which is a formal motion submitted for debate in the House of Commons that MPs can show support for by signing. EDM 581 aims to highlight the issue of chicken welfare and bring about a change in law regarding labelling of chicken sold in supermarkets. Head of Campaigns at Compassion in World Farming, Lasse Bruun has commented,
“We’re delighted that there is an Early Day Motion calling for honest labelling of chicken meat. Unfortunately supermarkets are getting away with misleading labels while the consumers are increasingly concerned about where our food comes from.”
To date, 168 MPs, that’s 25% of MPs across the UK, have shown their support for chickens by signing the Early Day Motion. Hugh is asking the British public to push their local MPs to do the same by adding their signatures to the list. You can find out whether your MP has signed the EDM on the Chicken Out! website and help the campaign reach their 300 signature target.
Three weeks ago Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launched a competition to inspire the creative side of followers of his famous Chicken Out! campaign, and last week the panel of judges which included Hugh himself, and representatives from Compassion in World Farming chose their winner.
Hugh has been urging Tesco to live up to their claims about welfare issues regarding their standard chicken, trying methods such as telephone conversations, face to face interviews and even becoming a shareholder to get the multi-million pound supermarket chain to take his campaign seriously. Having hit many barriers along the way, Hugh turned to his fellow chicken welfare supporters to show that customers as well as campaigners care about chicken welfare and threw down the gauntlett to design a new label that accurately depicts the environment these chickens are raised in.
The winning design from Debbie Cripps shows an image of a broiler house; hundreds of chickens packed into a dark shed with barely room to move, the title ‘Intensively Reared Chicken’ splashed across the top of the label, and the text beneath the image giving a more accurate description of where the chickens are raised. Hugh said his reason for choosing this design is because of its ‘transparency and fairness’, and went on to say “This design is a stark contrast from the outdoor image and misleading wording that currently appears on the Tesco standard chicken label.”
The new label design has been presented to Tesco with the aim that they will introduce this clearer, more accurate description of the product on sale. Only time will tell whether they will take on board the feedback from customers and campaigners, or Chicken Out!?