Friday 18 August 2017

BFREPA responds to innacurate Sunday Times article

Robert Gooch, the chief executive of BFREPA, has written this letter to the editor of the Sunday Times. 

Dear sir, 

Your article ‘Think you know your eggs’ (6 August) made some important distinctions between production systems used to produce the nation’s eggs. 

But your journalist, Josh Boswell, was wide of the mark on a number of issues. 

To say that ‘there is no limit on flock size’ in free range systems is inaccurate. Free range producers can have up to 16,000 birds in a shed, and they must be divided into sections of no more than 4,000 birds.  

A large flock will be made up of a number of sheds, not 170,000 chickens in one building as your article leads readers to believe. 

Beak tipping (not ‘chopping off beaks’) is a highly sophisticated method of reducing the risk of dominant hens pecking submissive hens. While it is an emotive issue, numerous Government and industry research projects have failed to find an effective alternative while retaining the high levels of hen welfare provided by British egg producers. 

Implying that male chicks are ‘thrown alive into a blender’ is grossly inaccurate. This practice does not exist in UK production where male chicks are humanely gassed to strict protocols. They are not simply discarded – in fact they end up being procured by the reptile feed industry. 

Finally, the British Lion Mark was also misrepresented.

The code covers the entire production chain and ensures strict food safety controls including the guarantee that all hens are vaccinated against salmonella and a ‘passport’ system ensuring that all hens, eggs and feed are fully traceable.

Yours sincerely, 

Robert Gooch
British Free Range Egg Producers Association