In a week where the headlines have been dominated by another terrorist attack, this time in Brussels, I am grateful to The Guardian for making chickens their main front page story today.
I believe the way a society treats its animals and its weaker, more vulnerable members says a great deal about it. It’s been a long slow haul to improve the living conditions of animals raised for food. Just four years ago battery hens were outlawed but that hasn’t seen the end of eggs from caged birds, and determined poultry farmers more concerned about profit than the welfare of the sentient creatures in their care have made the free range label somewhat suspect.
However, it did seem that we were slowly moving in the right direction, maybe at times if only because research showed meat from humanely reared animals is more nutritious.
So today’s headline was a shock:
Farm animal welfare codes to be scrapped
The government in its infinite wisdom is planning “to repeal an array of official guidance on animal welfare standards, starting with move to put the code on chicken farming into the hands of the poultry industry.” there’s more, and you can read more here.
Oh the irony, which were I a chicken I should not appreciate. The very weekend of the year when chocolate poultry and their produce, plus little fluffy yellow toy chickens abound, and the code regarding the welfare of the real creatures is to be put into the hands of the foxes, sorry, industry. Not farmers please note, but industry, because this is a world where an animal is just a product. I suspect the NFU which wields enormous influence has been piling on the pressure. Unsurprisingly animal welfare charities are extremely alarmed.
Once again the Conservative party has shown that it places a higher value on financial profit than compassion. Hardly a surprise then.
The Guardian broke this news yesterday. I hope that Compassion in World Farming, the RSPCA and other charities will start immediate campaigns to overturn these plans. In the meantime, if you feel strongly about it, tweet, use your FB account to raise awareness and mobilise opinion.
These chickens need you.