I’m quite disappointed to hear on the lunchtime news just now that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has failed in his attempted to get his special resolution passed at the Tesco AGM for them to improve their chicken welfare standards. I understand that Hugh managed to get 10% of the vote. Unfortunately Tesco had stated that he needed a whopping 75% for the resolution to be passed.
Since Hugh launched the Chicken Out campaign I’ve been following his progress with interest. His television programme showing the conditions in which many chickens are forced to live certainly made me think again about what I buy when in the supermarket and I certainly do read the packaging on chicken very carefully now to ensure I fully understand what I am buying (not as easy as it should be!) I think the approach that Hugh has taken with Tesco has been an interesting one and it certainly seemed to put Tesco on the back foot a bit at the start. I just hope that he will now continue the good work that he has started and that Tesco will listen to this particularly influential shareholder, rather than just considering him to be a “pain in the backside” as I guess they do at the moment!
The secondary debate that seems to come out of this is whether or not the public in general would be prepared to pay more for more ethically sourced food. If we were not in the current situation with food price rises then I think it would be slightly easier. The truth is that each family’s primary concern is to feed and shelter their family and I accept that for many people this can be quite difficult with the money that is available to them. I also say though that I think that we can all do much more to save money and stretch things further if we are prepared to put in a bit of effort.
Today’s society is so often in a rush. We are people who want instant gratification: something I believe that the Internet has made us want even more and something that I know I can also be guilty of. Just slowing down a little bit would help us all. Whether than means cooking from basic ingredients rather than buying ready meals, or walking to the local shops rather than jumping in the car to save time – all small actions can make a difference if people stop and think about things.
Slow down – as I keep asking myself, what’s the rush?