Battery vs free range chicken farming...

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by sparkling_quavers, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Did anyone watch the programme on last night about Hugh Fearnly-Wittingstall's campaign "chicken-out".

    I was generally gobsmacked that some of the people featured on the program had no idea about how battery chickens are raised. Some people were just ignorant, others just seemed apathetic. Are they that many people that are truely ignorant about this issue, or do the majority just not care if it saves them a few quid?

    It was also on the news tonight that the government is planning to ban battery farming.

    Personally, my view is that not only is battery chicken not really very humane, it also tastes terrible!

    What are your thoughts and views on this?
  2. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    I watched it last night and also saw Jimmy`s farm and the episode when he bought some ex-battery hens to his farm and the poor things couldn`t adapt to freedom.
    I admire what Hugh is trying to do but I think any changes in most peoples behaviour will be short lived.
  3. bigmamabadger

    bigmamabadger Active Member

    When organic food is brought within my price range I will more than happily buy it.
    At the moment it's a choice between buying happy organic food or buying some food. We don't eat much meat any more since nice meat is too expensive.
    It's unfair to suggest that people only want to save themselves a few quid, or that they don't care, for many it's simply not an option.
    Shock tactics like Huge Sternly-Whittingstall's are mainly a form of middle-class hand-wringing.
  4. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    Just been watching Hugh Fernley-Whatsisnames Program and I do agree with what he is saying, the way battery hens are kept and treated is awful. I was in Asda today and was considering buying a chicken and was looking at the difference in price between 'cheap and nasty' and free range, and being particularly skint at the moment I certainly wouldn't spend 6 or 7 quid on one when I can get one for half that! (I didn't buy either btw) Just looking at them, you can see that they look nicer, especially when they're bext to eachother. I would pay more as I know from experience that it does taste better but finances don't always allow!

    I do like the programs that he does, I thought River cottage was a great series and I bet the stuff he was cooking that was wild/free range tasted so much better than you buy in the shops. I'd love to try some of the things he cooked up like Carp and pigeon but it's not something you generally see in the shops or even in restaurants!
  5. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    In fairness, a lot of the families near where I live (Blackley) need the "few quid".

    It's a bit like Rick Stein's "Food Heroes" - while I admire, and largely agree with, the sentiments behind the programme, I can also see how a family scraping by on minimum wage plus benefits would be unimpressed by the suggestion that they should spend more on meat that had led a "happier" life.

    I'm not disputing that well-cared-for meat tastes better (my wife's veggie, I buy the occasional steak as a treat so I make sure I spend a bit more and get a good one) but the idea that the majority of people in the country can afford to be conscientious shoppers is, as BMB suggests, a middle class conceit. All the "better" options - local butchers, farmers' markets, etc., - are more expensive than the mass produced low quality supermarket produce and are simply out of reach of many families.
  6. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Might be controversial to say so but it is cheaper to be vegetarian
  7. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    :eek: ... have you seen the price of organic food? I thought the idea of cheaper food production was to do with the 'Green Revolution', a method to reduce starvation in the Third World? We all know what happened to that idea.

    Oh, I'm watching at the moment 'Kill It, Cook It, Eat it' at the moment on BBC3. Last night it was to do with the slaughter of young goats ... tonight it's to do with young calves! What is 'too young an age' to kill and satisfy our dinner appetites?
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2008
  8. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Vegetarian doesn`t have to be organic. I suppose organic farmers produce less crop but then they must save on chemicals?
  9. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    If battery chicken farms are that inhumane then they shouldn't be allowed in the first place, never mind putting all the pressure on the consumer as usual. I dare say we wouldn't buy a lot of different products if we knew exactly how they're manufactured/processed across the piece not just poultry. I have a friend who used to work in a crisp factory and won't touch them, another who worked in an abbattoir who's now vegetarian and I myself work in a food manufacturing environment (which, I might add, hasn't put me off!).

    I buy free range chicken as I can get it at a comparable price to the cheaper variety and yes, it tastes 100% better. However, expecting everyone to pay double the price for an item in the name of moral obligation is unfair. This obligation should lie with the purveyor/supplier/retailer in my humble opinion :)
  10. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - the point of organic growth is to use natural elements isn't it?

    (I thought one of the calves slaughtered wasn't properly stunned ... :eek: ... Why should we see neural activity shortly afterwards, and before it's throat was slit? I assumed the stunning process was to be an inhibitor).
  11. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Yes, I can see the point to your argument. I have lived, at times, pretty close to the bread-line myself. But, how many people who buy cheap chickens take off the breasts and throw the rest away? This is, in these instances, a case of convience food since a typical family could really get 3 meals out of a chicken. It was not that long ago that chickens were always expensive! Perhaps, it is more a case of the need for education about cooking. That way more people may have the option to make a more ethical choice. I also realise that there are many people who buy a battery chicken and also make that last, but this really is different to those who use this as a convience food. In those cases it is just another part of our 'throw away society'.

    I am not middle class, nor was I brought up middle class. I guess this is an ethical choice I choose to make. I am in support of programs such as these as people then have the chance to make a choice themselves.
  12. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    Then there is also the question of chicken in other products...Pies, soups, fast food etc etc...where does that originate from I wonder?
  13. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Here's the thing, and there's really no getting away from this:

    If you're going to eat meat, or fish, you need to accept that as some point along the line it will involve some level of cruel treatment. The cheaper the end product, the less care will have been taken. I have no patience with people who are happy to eat meat as long as it comes in neat little plastic trays covered in cellophane, with no nasty blood or eyeballs involved. You're eating a dead animal, whose throat has been slit after an electric stunning - either deal with it or go veggie.

    The whole battery farming concept works precisely because people are so detached from the reality of where their food comes from that it simply doesn't occur to them to connect the their tasty sunday roast with a living creature. Only a couple of generations ago, when you bought a chicken from the butchers, he would know where it had lived and it came with the head and feet on; people were more connected to their food sources and as such, treated them with more respect. My wife's grandad grew up on a farm in the early 20s and clearly remembers geese, hens and pigs being slaughtered outside and butchered in the kitchen for the family's meals; this wasn't some Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall TV experiment, but simply how people lived in rural England.

    Battery farming is accepted now because few people know or care where their food comes from, as long as they can afford it. Sadly, that's human nature and changing it is difficult to say the least. There's also the "Watership Down" factor - we anthropomorphise animals in this country to a ridiculuous extent, to the point where almost no-one would be prepared to clean or gut their own chicken, much less kill it themselves, because they would have given said chicken a name. For similar reasons of squeamishness about eating cuddly animals, very few people eat venison, rabbit or veal in this country any more. I didn't watch the "Kill it Cook it" programme, but I heard a lot of people at work complaining about the slaughter of a piglet - yet these are the same people who will happily order lamb for their Sunday lunch. What's the difference? The difference is that you can buy lamb in little plastic trays wrapped in cellophane without having to think about where it comes from.
  14. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    I could be wrong, but there are still nerve impulses going from the still intact spinal chord. Stunning them knocks the brain out, so they don't feel anything.
  15. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Google "mechanically recovered meat" - but not if you're squeamish or eating.
  16. Jonny5Stars

    Jonny5Stars New Member

    Organic would not sustain the World's population. I grow my own fruit and veg organically - powdery mildew wiped out my courgettes one year and black spot my broad beans another. Fine for me I can buy some more but not for commercial farmers.
    Imagine being an Irish peasant during the potato famine - your whole crop ruined. "Organic" antifungal Bordeaux mixture is copper sulphate which is toxic. Sometimes the organic debate is irrational. For instance, imidazole and triazole compounds are used as anti-fungicides and medicines. Using medicines to treat nail infections, thrush, athlete's foot, dandruff etc. but not spraying potatoes doesn't make sense. "Sorry, you'll need to treat that Jock Itch with natural yogurt"!
    Final point Eat less meat. Livestock farming accounts for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions.
  17. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    There is another programme tomorrow night Jamie`s Fowl Dinners dealing with same subject.
  18. horn1

    horn1 Member

    I must admit the chicken out campaign/program did make me think. I wouldn't dream of buying anything other than free range eggs but hadn't even thought about it for chicken. In future I think I'll be looking out for free range chicken and if it is more expensive then I'll just have to eat it less!!
  19. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    well as a butcher;
    there is a lot of talk about free range meat etc ;
    All very well but with our company supplying Hotels, Restraunts, Pubs etc then they want it a s cheap(No joke here) as possible and do niot want to pay the price,
    Dont get me wrong we dont and will not have amy old stuff that is about to buy and for us to sell out.
    But catering on catering butchering the % mark up is a lot less than retail/shop price
  20. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    May I ask you a quick question re: butchers Ian? What is the difference between a)quality butcher b)family butcher c)master butcher?