Back to website

Ben Bradshaw and "organic" chicken


Dear Mary,

 It might be noted that the UK agriculture/food establishment (our Civil Service and Government Ministers) gold plate EU directives when, as in the case of abattoirs, the resultant rules cause the closure of the small scale independent businesses which support local independent food producers.  The beneficiaries are the Supermarkets and ‘global’ food businesses.

 When it comes to ‘organic’ chicken production there is the opposite of gold plating of the directive – and – who benefits?  Supermarkets and ‘global’ food businesses, of course.  It is time to wake up to the corruption at the heart of our food production.



I buy organically produced chicken because I believed it to be produced non intensively with a high degree of compassion, ethics, morality, towards the birds reared.

Now, I see as a customer I am about to be duped yet again with Ben Bradshaw's announcement.

I can only hope the Soil Association will take matters into their own hands and refuse certification of such farming enterprises - otherwise I as a customer will have been cheated should I continue to even buy chicken.

All Politicians should be taken to a chicken broiler unit and then ask themselves this: Why has so much time been spent on sparing the odd fox when no time has been spent on addressing the foul life chicks suffer in broiler units?

I am truly upset at this news.


October 2 - Oct 9 2004 ~ "Mr Bradshaw has ignored the wishes of consumers and the views of his own advisors."

FWi quotes Patrick Holden, the Director of the Soil Association, on the news that Ben Bradshaw has decided to allow flocks of up to 12,000 birds in a single house - and that such intensively "farmed" birds can still be termed "organic".

"He has also betrayed the public's trust of organic standards. The Soil Association is urging him to reconsider this ill-advised action. This decision will cause economic hardship to many poultry producers working to achieve high standards of production in line with consumer expectations.
The intensive poultry industry will be rewarded, who we fear had no intention of complying with EU law," Mr Holden said.

12 laying birds per square metre will be allowed as a result of this decision. The UK was to have limited organic flock sizes to an absolute maximum of 3000 next year - but Ben Bradshaw, in spite of long discussions with the Advisory Committee on Organic Standards, has postponed this move until 2010 - in order, the FWi says, "to bring the UK into line with other EU member states."