01 March 1999
Ostrich farmers dismiss Waitrose rejection

By FWi staff

OSTRICH farmers have dismissed news that the Waitrose supermarket chain is to stop selling ostrich meat as a minor setback in an expanding market.

Waitrose made the announcement this weekend, claiming it was dropping the sale of ostrich meat from all its stores because of “supplier difficulties”.

But producers claimed that the effect of the ban will be minimal because about 70% of ostrich meat produced in the UK is exported to Europe.

“The majority of UK meat is destined for the European market,” said Chris Hobson, chairman of the British Domestic Ostrich Association (BDOA).

“It wont have a dramatic effect on UK producers, but it obviously wont help them.”

Animal welfare supporters claimed that the Waitrose move, which came on a national day of action, was as a big boost to their campaign against exotic meats.

“This is the final victory for wildlife against the big supermarkets,” said Juliet Gellatley, director of Viva.

“The vast majority of the general public has been behind us – disgusted by the sale of kangaroo, alligator, crocodile and ostrich meat.”