“What the consumer needs at a time when the cost of living is dramatically rising is confidence that their favourite meat remains affordable and widely accessible,” says BPC Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths.
In his speech at 2022’s NFU Conference, Secretary of State George Eustice set out plans for government funded vet visits, grants for welfare improvements, and health and welfare priorities for sectors, asserting Defra’s commitment “to designing our future policy with industry.”
For meat chickens, ‘initial priorities’ include adopting welfare-improving technology to support better stockmanship and implementing the Better Chicken Commitment – published as part of plans for the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway.
British Poultry Council Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said: “British poultry meat producers already uphold world class standards of animal welfare. We keep pace with technology and innovation. We also engage in internationally-recognised assurance schemes such as Red Tractor; these tightly manage and audit robust on-farm welfare standards.
We operate under science-based legislation, delivered by skilled farmers and vets with high levels of training and experience. Given labour shortages across the wider farming sector, we are exploring technological investment in supporting stockmanship so funding in this area is most welcome.
British poultry meat producers work in a consumer driven market. We rear a billion birds a year across a variety of production systems, including indoor-reared Better Chicken Commitment, to ensure safe, nutritious food is available at every price point. What the consumer needs at a time when the cost of living is dramatically rising is confidence that their favourite meat remains affordable and widely accessible.
We cannot talk about welfare in isolation. Sustainable food production is ensured through a combination of factors including affordability, environmental impact, welfare, and food security. There is a large cost for enhanced welfare, both in terms of production and a larger environmental footprint.
Almost 90% of the current market is indoor reared to Red Tractor standards but all other standards are readily available for those who can afford it. We will continue to let the market lead and if more consumers demonstrate desire for Better Chicken Commitment product, we will meet demand.”