The Eating Better Alliance recently published a report with some interesting facts and figures about chicken production. Here is what they had to say:
Chicken is often seen as an affordable source of protein and has been recommended by some as a good choice for health and the environment instead of red meat. However, a new report by the Eating Better alliance shows that recommending this switch is causing real and sometimes hidden costs.
The report called ‘We need to talk about chicken,’ shows that poultry overtook red meat sales for the first time in 2017 and now accounts for over 50% of meat consumption. 850 million chickens are reared for meat in the UK each year. Concerningly, 95% of this is in intensive indoor units. Chicken has been touted as a healthy and sustainable meat, but it has serious trade-offs that are multiplied many times due to the vast amount of chicken produced. Our growing appetite for chicken accelerates climate change through deforestation to supply huge amounts of soy, a major part of the modern-day chicken’s diet.
Martin Lines, UK Chair of the Nature-Friendly Farming Network has said:‘As we see the public being encouraged to move from red meat to white meat we must look closely at the environmental and climate footprint of the animal feed inputs coming from around the world. The UK imports around 3 million tonnes of soy annually, almost 60% of which is used by the poultry industry. Its production is a major driver of deforestation and land-use change in South America. Over half of the soy used to feed poultry in the UK is not certified deforestation-free.