Tesco shareholders snub Fearnley-Whittingstall

Tesco has snubbed celebrity cook Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall calls to improve its chicken rearing standards at today’s (June 27) annual general meeting.

The TV cook had called on shareholders to vote through a resolution to improve welfare standards for chickens, alleging that the company breaches the “Five Freedoms” concept, which include freedom from pain, injury and disease, proposed by the Farm Animal Welfare Council. Only 9.88% of Tesco shareholders backed the chef, with the overall majority supporting the company’s defence of its poultry welfare standards.

The supermarket has said that in order to implement Fearnley-Whittingstall’s proposals to improve the welfare of intensively reared chickens it would have to raise chicken prices by over £1 on average, which would restrict choice for its customers.

The chef who presents River Cottage on Channel 4 has also said that by selling factory farmed chickens, which he says have no access to light or outside space or perching space, Tesco has been “breaching its own welfare policy.” He asked the retailer to make the rearing-standard change within three years.

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