Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s proposal forcing Tesco to stop selling conventionally reared chicken in its stores was rejected by Tesco shareholders earlier today.

The chef’s proposal only attracted 10% of the votes at the general meeting in Solihull.

Mr Fearnley Whittingstall bought a share in Tesco earlier this year, giving him the right to put a resolution to shareholders. For the plans to have been passed, he needed 75% of the shareholders’ votes.

His resolution called on Britain’s biggest supermarket to upgrade its poultry welfare standards so that it is in line with their stated claim to endorse the “Five Freedoms” as set down by the Farm Animal Welfare Council.

In practice, he believes this would be achievable by a commitment to upgrading its poultry to at least the RSPCA Freedom Foods production system which, although indoor-reared, uses slower growing breeds, a lower stocking density and environmental enrichment to allow chickens to express natural behaviour.

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