09 January, 2008

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in tears

So part two of "Hugh's Chicken Run" aired on Channel 4 last night, absolutely required viewing (in my household anyway)...we haven't even got to the metaphorical "end" of the journey yet and there were already some sequences where Flyingpops felt the need to look away from the screen (if that gives you any idea)...I mean, Hugh's dream of seeing a communal chicken run in every neighbourhood is sadly laughable fantasy (at least in *most* places where the average consumer spends £2.50 on the family roast), he might have been better off showing how you could bring up a couple of birds in a pen in the garden (like Gordon did) feeding them quite successfully with kitchen scraps (no more smelly recycling) and mixer (cheap), but it wouldn't have made such good TV, setting up (as it did) the group of motivated people who were going to be the benchmark "public opinion" thermometer (although one that had been personally involved in rearing their own chickens at the absolute pinacle of excellence in husbandry). They were then paraded, in order, through an (idealised) but largely standard "free range" industrial setup, and after (thinking "well, not great, but not too bad") they were led into the black hole of calcutta next door...

Only one woman (the one who had been most voiciferous throughout) held onto her convictions claiming she still didn't care what conditions they had to endure (so she could afford to gorge herself on enough of them for satisfaction), that is, until her small son emerged from the gloom in floods of tears...(a small, but twisted smile spread a little way across my lips when I watched her bend down to comfort him)...

On this note, did anyone notice McDonalds UK quietly issue a press release (before Channel 4's hype engine got out of first gear) confidently predicting that standards of animal husbandry would become more of an issue in the public conciousness this year? Someone who works under the golden arches is obviously *rather* good at their job...it does beg the question though, if McDonalds can do it (and have the best year in the companies history despite it), why can't the supermarkets?

It's simple, the public must demand it...McDonalds *have* to be whiter than white because after McLibel everyone expects them to be dirty and underhanded (even though they have now been using purely free range eggs, sourced locally if at all possible, for over a decade, among other amazingly foresighted moves)...the supermarkets simply don't have any of this kind of pressure to react to, and that's what needs to change (and, I believe, is changing now)...

If you want to add your support, you can sign the petition here...

Part 3 tonight...

Update - looks like things are changing already, and not in a good way, the Express reports that farmers are already suffering as public opinion takes landslide shift away from intensively farmed chicken...not quite what they had in mind!

2 comments:

-Mr X- said...

Thank God he patched things up with that ar*ehole Martin in Tescos :-)

¨°º©[ Fink ]©º°¨ said...

Hehe, I hope people do call him ar*ehole under their breath in future...serve him right... ;)