Just over two weeks since the launch of our #StandWithChickens campaign, almost two thousand people have signed their name to demand change for the UK’s most prolifically farmed land animal.
The campaign began with around 50 activists across the UK taking part in demonstrations outside Tesco stores, in response to the supermarket’s refusal to sign the European Chicken Commitment (ECC); a contract which would help prevent some of the worst suffering endured by chickens.
Activists spoke to members of the public about the terrible conditions on farms which supply TESCO, as well as the highly inadequate electrified water bath stunning method used in the UK, which results in an estimated 180 million chickens a year still being conscious at the time of killing.
Many were shocked to hear that of all the chickens farmed in the UK, 95% are reared on intensive farms, where it is legal to keep up to 19 chickens per square metre. This results in the birds living in overcrowded and filthy conditions for the duration of their short lives, before they are sent to slaughter at just 6 weeks old.
It may sound unbelievable that a tiny chick who fits in the palm of your hand can reach the size of a supermarket chicken in just 6 weeks. But this is the reality for billions of birds who have undergone decades of selective breeding to grow at an unnaturally fast rate.
The strain of this rapid growth puts so much pressure on the internal organs and legs of the chickens that they can die of organ failure, or become lame. Lameness results in further health conditions such as ammonia burns from being unable to move away from their own filth.
By asking Tesco to sign up to the ECC, this would mean that any supplier of chicken meat to Tesco would have meet specific requirements, including only using slower growing breeds of chicken and allowing more space for chickens.
Tesco still refuses to even comment on the #StandWithChickens campaign. But we ask, if companies including Pret, Zizzi, Ask Italian, Unilever and Marks and Spencer have already signed up to the ECC, why can’t they? We urge Tesco to stay committed to their values and end this cruelty now.
Please show that you stand with chickens by signing the petition to Tesco:
Also, please e-mail Tesco here: customer.service@tesco.co.uk and tell them that chickens deserve better.
Originally written by Catherine Reda