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Does supermarket 'basics' meat always mean low animal welfare?

(11 Posts)
LornaGoon Thu 30-May-13 21:43:37

Our food budget is tight but DP still wants to eat a bit of chicken now and again.

The packaging on the Sainsburys basic chicken breasts said it was 'class A' I think and had a Union Jack on so I suppose some kind of standards must have been met.

Other meat in various shops have tractors and jolly farmers on and do it up in nice packaging to convince me that little lamb chops has been skipping through fields but I'm just not convinced.

Do supermarkets even have to tell you on the label if the animal has been raised on GM feed or given hormones?

ReallyTired Thu 30-May-13 21:49:47

I don't think its likely that any meat in supermarkets have been gentically modified or given hormones. I don't think that GM food or adding hormones to food is yet legal in the UK. It is likely that animal welfare standards have been the lowest level the producers can get away with. Many EU countries have lower standards of animal welfare than the UK.

You are right that nice packing does not mean that larry the lamb enjoyed his experience at the abatotoir. However the ethics of meating eating and food production is a different thread.

LornaGoon Thu 30-May-13 22:58:00

That's exactly what I wanted to know re the GM stuff, thanks Really. I knew it is not currently legal but there are plans to make it legal; couldn't find any decent info anywhere.

Yep packaging is all smoke and mirrors. Just been looking at the Compassion in World Farming website. Stuff on labels is very thought-provoking.

From what I understand even 'free range' can be bit of a sly term; an open door on a massive shit-stinking shed is not the same as chickens frolicking in the sun. Its all so grim and unnecessary.

Would happily live in a lentil-weaving meat free house, but for DPs insistence that he needs it once in a while to 'fill him up'.

NotHerAgain Thu 30-May-13 23:37:14

The labelling is definitely made to sound more pastoral than it is, and I wouldn't be under any illusion: for meat to be cheap but still turn a profit, corners have to be cut and economies of scale have to be made! The minimum standards (incl. red tractor label) are really that, minimal from the point of view of a chicken caged in 75cm2 (the new 'improved' standards)... all available on DEFRA website.

Gm in animal feed is legal, has been for a while, and is now becoming the norm rather than the exception. Labelling of the resulting meat is not compulsory (so basically never happens!) - more info:

NotHerAgain Thu 30-May-13 23:38:16

Could you keep your own chickens? (for eggs rather than meat, i mean!!!)

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 30-May-13 23:42:18

You'd be better going to a decent butcher but getting low cost cuts of meat, chicken breasts are not a cheap option and the welfare on these will be low as possible.

How much was the pack?

LornaGoon Fri 31-May-13 13:14:04

Swish, I think it was about a fiver for 4 chicken breasts; much cheaper than the next range up but still too expensive for us, especially when at least two of us in the house don't really like meat!

NotHerAgain, I am all for chickens in the garden. We've just moved to a new house, albeit rented, and I've been reading up on chicken care! I've been thinking of either 'old' chickens. I am genuinely excited about getting hens!

Thanks for the link. I will push it under DH's nose. Hopefully be a tipping point to cut out the meat!

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sat 01-Jun-13 06:16:19

Ok, maybe think about ditching chicken. You can get organic free range mince for less than that. Chicken is the most expensive and the worst welfare plus few nutrients especially in the cheap stuff.

If you went to a decent butcher, asked him about his top welfare meat and asked for cheap cuts you would get a better product for your £5.

A whole good quality chicken is only £10 - couldn't you buy one, roast it, freeze half for next week? Buy buying breasts you are paying top whack.

BrianButterfield Sat 01-Jun-13 06:23:18

Aldi do free range chickens for £4.99 and two breasts for £3_something, I think that's your best bet. We eat very little chicken for the ethics/price reason and the Aldi stuff is pretty much all we get.

ihatethecold Sat 01-Jun-13 06:25:16

Chicken thighs have much more flavour for much less costwink

Tigresswoods Sat 01-Jun-13 06:32:54

No, it just means its horse.


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