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Antony Fisher's Ideals Attacked

Fowl play: Jamie’s ruffling feathers again - Times Online - December 29, 2007

Jamie Oliver’s back on the warpath - this time to urge us to eat better chicken. Battery farming’s in for a roasting

Humane Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall wants you to give up cheap chicken - Times Online - December 30, 2007
THE television chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, known for his earthy approach to cooking and love of offal, is to launch a campaign for the middle classes to boycott cheap chicken in protest at the cruelty of battery farming.

Fearnley-Whittingstall believes well-heeled consumers should be prepared to pay more for their chicken so that fewer birds are reared in overcrowded, unnatural conditions.

Santa having given me the Sainted Hugh's book on Meat (down to £10 at W H Smith) for Christmas I have a lot of time for his point of view. I certainly don't ever want to eat a cheap chicken again, they are pointless bits of rubbery gunge. But, but, I do worry about these campaigns for dearer food. Widespread availability of cheap nutritious food has done more for improving the sum of human happiness than any moralising sermon. Did Antony Fisher do more good by founding Buxted Chickens, bringing cheap chicken to Britain or founding the IEA . Discuss.


I have to take issue with you on broiler chicken, having spent a good part of a 44 year career in the Poultry Industry growing the things and at one time SE Regional Chairman and National Chairman of the NFU Poultry Committee. Taste is in the preparation and the cooking, they need a good thawing, rather than straight out of the freezer, quick microwave defrost and then cook.

The problem with Oliver and his mate Hugh is that they are food snobs, just like the other fat little prat who objects to farmed salmon. The fact of the matter is that without broiler farms the majority of chicken would be imported from Brazil and Thailand. Fifty percent is anyway. When I packed up 5 years ago, annual broiler consumption was around 900 million a year. Try putting that lot out on free range!

The chicken is a tropical beast originally, (jungle fowl) and I have never understood why they should be subjected to the rigours of the english climate in winter "for their welfare."

I have seen some pretty appalling conditions on free range and disgraceful nonsense from the Soil Association, who object to beak trimming to prevent cannibalism,(more prevalent extensively than intensively) and they don't like chickens to have antibiotics when they are ill. Of course they don't get sick on free range do they? Not even bird flu.

Because imported broiler meat is so cheap, there is a knock on effect to the egg industry, old hen meat is no longer used in the massive sandwich industry,(the industry is massive, not the sandwiches), so egg farmers have to pay for end of lay hens to be taken away, except for the few "rescued" by back yarders.

Grampian have farms in Thailand now, where they don't have the same nonsense that we do, from climate change levy to the EU-inspired Industrial Pollution Prevention and Control legislation, previously reserved for the likes of ICI at Billingham, plus 12 months maternity leave, paternity leave, holiday pay and full rights for casual workers, etc, etc.

Finally, don't be tempted to knock intensive farming for a few cheap lines, we've never had the grants and subsidies that you "proper" farmers have had.

All in the best possible taste....

I didn't ever meet Fisher but worked with his business partner Tony Pendry for a short time, a very clever businessman and someone who contributed enormously to good and cheap nutrition in this country. I worked for years with intensive livestock, designing ventilation and housing systems, I would go along with harbinger's comments; a lot of us could not afford to eat had these guys not paved the way.

Like the chicken the pig is a woodland animal, keeping them out in fierce summer sun with no shelter apart from a corrugated tin ark (or oven) must be more cruel than a fan cooled shady shed.

That Huge Ferny Shopping-Mall guy tries to give the impression that he is an accomplished sea angler, what tosh.... he even holds the fishing rod like a big girl. The man's a fake.

Chicken seems to be the only meat that doesn't "taste like chicken" unless you get then free range.

I'm a big fan of Hugh, even though he can't hold his rod properly (I fish & also noticed that but decided to keep stumm), but it is chaps like these who are leading the way into making Britain a better place to eat. Eating out, or in, in France or Italy is a delight. There is no reason why it can't be so in England.

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