Is Tesco's [Pounds Sterling]1.99 Chicken a Blow to Animal Rights?

Article excerpt

Byline: Ben Clerkin

TESCO has come under fire from animal rights campaigners for slashingthe price of its standard chickens by more than a third to [pounds sterling]1.99.

Welfare groups argue that the discount undermines their efforts to getconsumers to pay more for poultry that has been reared more humanely.

Jonathan Church, a spokesman for the supermarket, said the reduction from [pounds sterling]3.30for a standard whole bird would help cash-strapped shoppers keep their billsdown.

He added: 'No one should feel guilty for buying a chicken just because it isgood value. The only reduction we make is in the price - not the welfare.' ButCompassion In World Farming last night claimed the chain could have keptshoppers happy while still encouraging ethical shopping.

The charity's director of research and food policy, Dr Lesley Lambert, said:'If Tesco is prepared to drop their prices in this way, why don't they decreaseit on the higher welfare chickens and make that more accessible to poorerconsumers rather than following this race to the bottom with a product thatcomes from chickens that have been reared in terrible conditions?' Tesco'sstandard chickens all carry the Red Tractor symbol to show they are British andthat they conform to Assured Chicken Production (ACP) standards.

But the standards meet fewer than half of the 13 animal welfare criteria laidout by Compassion In World Farming and the RSPCA has described the ACP'swelfare element as 'pretty low'. …