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URGENT! Chickens need your help
Posted 27 August 2009
To come in to line with the EU, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is considering reducing the current space that broiler chickens - those bred for meat - have to live in. As well as setting a legal baseline (for the first time) on stocking densities for all producers, the new Directive is supposed to establish rules protecting the welfare of broilers. However, if the UK aligns itself with the new EU standards, as many as 21 chickens could be permitted per square metre. That’s around 6 more than is currently allowed - even though the existing regime allocates each bird 15% less space than a sheet of A4 paper. Defra will be finalising and publicising the UK law on meat chickens in September and the EU law will come into force in June 2010. That is why we need your help TODAY to stop this huge backwards step.
Broiler chickens already suffer greatly under current rules. By the end of their six-week growing cycle, the birds become so unnaturally large that their legs may not be able to support their own bodies and they have difficulty walking. Each year, millions of birds collapse under the strain and die before they even reach slaughter weight. They are vulnerable to a host of other health problems, including heart attacks and deformities caused by carrying so much weight on young bones.
The new Directive will be bad news for UK farmed animal welfare and will remove obligations for the industry to improve welfare conditions. Please write to Jim Fitzpatrick, the Minister for Food, Farming and the Environment and ask him to make the right decision for chickens.
Jim Fitzpatrick MP
Minister for Food, Farming and the Environment
17 Smith Square