email received February 7 2008
You might be interested in the attached piece from today's Leek Post &
I find the angry and cynical tone of the article appalling, from its lack of
shame at 'the unsavoury images of the poultry industry' to the claim that
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was only campaigning because he wants to expand
his free range poultry business through to the bombastic bluster of Charles
Borne, chairman of the NFU poultry committee.
It would seem from the tone of this piece that the chefs' campaign for
better conditions for broiler chickens has really hit home. I was pleased
to see the notice in my local Sainsburys apologising for being unable to
meet the unprecedented increase in demand for organic and free range chicken
which rather gives the lie to Clive Langford-Mycock's claim that the
campaign has failed.
With best wishes and much appreciation for the work you do.
From Leek Post & Times 6 Feb 2008 – ‘Country View’ with Clive Langford Mycock
Jamie’s Campaign fell on Deaf Ears
I THOUGHT I would start this week by bringing you up to date with the comings and goings of the poultry industry. As I am sure you all remember, little more than two weeks ago the guy from River Cottage, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and TV chef Jamie Oliver took on what they thought was a mission possible - which turned out to be impossible - and destroy the cheap chicken and the broiler units of Britain.
For five days and nights we, the consumers, were bombarded with the most graphic and unsavoury images of the poultry industry with the sole intention of stopping us all eating broiler chickens. I had breakfast with Charles Borne, chairman of the National Farmers' Union poultry committee, and I have to admit I couldn't wait to see just how much of the broiler industry had been destroyed and whether there anything left of this multi-billion pound industry that could be saved. My old mate Charles is one of those great flamboyant characters, who for several years has taken the industry by the scruff of its neck and not just kept it afloat, but made it compete with the rest of the world.
When Charles gives his quarterly report to council it doesn't matter how bad things are, he has an unbelievable habit of putting a positive spin on things and even the most pessimistic person on earth can't help but admire his style. When I popped the question 'how bad has it got?', he said "What do you mean, the question you should be asking is how good is it getting?"
With sales equal to that before the television programmes and even showing signs of climbing, what, I asked, was the reason for this new-born optimism? "It's quite simple," he explained. "If the consumers don't like cheap chickens, double the price, put them in fresh bags, move the shelves around and everyone is happy."
If ever I have seen a bit of good marketing to dig you out of a hole, then that has to be without any question the best of the year.
In a nutshell, all these so- called TV stars have done by meddling on the fringes of an industry as large as the chicken industry is to do the public out of some cheap food. The moral of this story is very simple - producing cheap television programmes trying to influence the great British public just doesn't work.'