05 March 1998
Commons move to end cruelty to broilers
By Ben Summers, Press Association
A BID to protect breeding chickens from the cruelties of factory farming was launched in the House of Commons today.
Labours Bill Etherington (Sunderland N), introducing his Welfare of Broiler Chickens Bill, said current practice on rearing chickens for meat was overseen by an inadequate Ministry of Agriculture code that had no legal status.
As a result, as many as 180 million birds per year were suffering under the broiler system, he told the House.
Mr Etherington said intensive rearing practices damaged the birds hearts and lungs in particular. Forced rapid growth also harmed their legs, he said.
“The Farm Animal Welfare Council working group found problems of this nature on practically every farm that they visited.”
Mr Etherington referred to last years “McLibel” case judgement where Mr Justice Bell had found broiler overcrowding to be intentional, unnecessary and cruel.
His Bill was given a formal first reading without a vote but stands no chance of becoming law owing to lack of parliamentary time.
The measure is backed by Compassion in World Farming, which claims several million of the 750 million broiler chickens reared each year in the UK for their meat die of heart disease.
The parents of the broilers also suffer, and are kept in a state of chronic hunger, the organisation says.