Chicken Out's response to London 2012 Food Vision
Animals set to lose at London 2012: Statement by Compassion in World Farming, 7 December 2009. See their campaign on the CIWF website.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has published its Food Vision Paper for the 2012 Olympics, saying it is aiming for “the best of British.” Sadly for millions of chickens and pigs, LOCOG has set Red Tractor as the mandatory baseline standard, permitting them to be farmed in conditions that do not meet their welfare needs.
Studies have indicated that over a quarter of chickens reared in standard intensive systems are suffering from painful lameness, with over 3% almost unable to walk at all. This figure represents over 150 million lame birds in the UK each year. Chicken Out! does not believe this is acceptable at the greatest sporting event in recent British history. We believe that RSPCA Freedom Food should be the mandatory baseline standard, because it is scientifically proven to benefit chicken welfare.
Chicken Out! has already amassed over 167,000 supporters and major retailers are recognising the growing demand for RSPCA Freedom Food and free-range chicken. If the Olympics Food Vision becomes a reality, we could see London 2012 serving food which lags way behind established good practice in many British supermarkets, not to mention the food served by many London boroughs, schools and public bodies.
Chicken Out! chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said, “It is totally inconsistent and I think inconceivable that we will be watching sports people at their peak of fitness, yet being served chicken by the Olympic Games catering service that not only has an arguably lower nutritional value, but has been produced in a system that causes lameness in over a quarter of the birds. I believe that the 2012 Olympics has a role to play in showing leadership and responsibility in this issue.”
For athletes, a good healthy diet is crucial. It is disappointing that the Olympic Food Vision supports factory farmed chicken which contains more fat than protein. Serving higher welfare chicken at the 2012 Olympics is a healthier option.
Compassion in World Farming Patron and Chicken Out! supporter Joanna Lumley OBE said: “Why would the Olympic organisers not go for the best of the best? What a massive disappointment it will be for our country not to show itself in its best colours with the world's eyes upon us.”
The Food Vision Paper currently states unset targets for the percentage of RSPCA Freedom Food meat to be served at the games. Chicken Out! is calling for an Olympics Food Vision that sets clear and leading targets on animal welfare to ensure we serve food that Britain can be proud of in 2012.