RSPCA highlight poultry welfare with ‘Chicken Challenge’

The RSPCA is encouraging people to stand on a piece of A4 for 20 minutes to campaign for poultry welfare, but the industry has defended British welfare standards.

The ‘Chicken Challenge’, part of the RSPCA’s Farm Animal Week 2014, wants to raise awareness for what it considers to be poor living conditions for chickens. The organisation’s website reads: “Many chickens are given an area less than an A4 piece of paper to spend their whole lives in. Could you spend just 20 minutes in a space that small?”

Those who want to take part are then supposed to download a printable piece of paper with chicken feet printed on it, on which they will spend 20 minutes taking their challenge. Also available in the printable pack are beaks and chicken combs, which can be cut out, presumably to be worn during the exercise.

However, the British Poultry Council (BPC) has responded by stating that UK welfare standards are high, and ahead of the rest of Europe. Andrew Large, BPC chief executive, said: “Animal health and welfare are core principles of British poultry production.

“The British Poultry Council, whose members produce 90% of the country’s poultry meat, works closely with Red Tractor to guarantee robust and responsible high-quality standards for poultry meat production in the UK. These schemes go beyond the legislative requirements. The maximum stocking density for chicken reared under Red Tractor is a 38kg per square metre. Great Britain has a limit of 39kg/m2 while in the rest of Europe it is 42kg/m2. Consumers can be assured the chicken they eat has been reared to strict animal health and welfare standards.”        

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