RSPCA calls on Tesco To improve chicken welfare

The RSPCA and representatives from welfare group Open Cages handed over 350,000 signatures to Tesco bosses at its AGM, demanding the supermarket improves the welfare of its meat chickens.

Left to right: Claire Williams (RSPCA), Gianna Cooper, Connor Jackson and Beth Granter (Open Cages) and Georgina Holding (campaigner.) 

Tesco is the UK’s largest retailer of intensively reared indoor chicken, spending over £370 million on such chickens each year. Welfare groups have concerns about the welfare of intensively-reared birds. The RSPCA, joined by welfare group Open Cages, handed in more than 354,000 signatures to Tesco bosses and shareholders. The signatures have been collected through an RSPCA petition, a Care 2 petition and an OpenCages petition.

Claire Williams, campaign manager at the RSPCA, said: “Tesco has by far the biggest market share of ‘intensively reared’ chicken meat, and it’s their duty to ensure the animals are raised to good welfare standards. The potential difference they can make to animal welfare is enormous – why wouldn’t they listen to their customers and make this hugely positive change for animal welfare?

Recent polling showed 86% of shoppers expect supermarkets to ensure the chicken on its shelves are farmed to higher welfare standards, but the reality is very different. The public who signed these petitions are demanding Tesco raise its animal welfare standards by signing up to a Europe-wide initiative, the Better Chicken Commitment, championed by the RSPCA and other welfare groups. M&S and Waitrose have already pledged to join.