After the TV shows and media attention there was an immediate local reaction.
Via the Echo:
Battery farm eggs banned from schools and care homes
EGGS from battery hens will be banned from dozens of Merseyside schools, care homes and canteens.
The move to free range eggs, which will affect all kitchens in council- owned buildings in Wirral, will cost taxpayers Â£5,000.
But council bosses believe the move is worth every penny if it means schoolchildren, elderly people and town hall workers are fed â€œcruelty-freeâ€ food.
Wirral council has become one of the first in the country to bow to pressure from TV chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
The pair have spent the past week on Channel 4 highlighting the way chickens are treated before their meat and eggs end up on peopleâ€™s plates.
Council leader Steve Foulkes backed the idea, which was approved by councillors on Thursday, despite it costing more than using eggs from battery hens.
He said: â€œTV campaigns have highlighted the issue and I think the majority of people in Wirral will back us on this.
â€œBecause of European regulations, the battery system for eggs is set to end in 2012 so we are going to pre- empt that and act now.
â€œIn negotiating our next morning foods contract, we had already found a Â£25,000 saving on the previous one. This decision reduced that saving to Â£20,000, so effectively cost us Â£5,000.
â€œI am old enough to remember â€˜going to work on an eggâ€™, so it is good to be able to offer the same in a cruelty- free way at schools and canteens across Wirral.â€
The councilâ€™s decision today won praise from animal welfare campaigners.
Annabel Davies, from the Compassion In World Farming group, said: â€œThis is a fantastic move by Wirral council.
â€œWe have been running a campaign for our supporters to petition their local authorities to go cage-free and it is great this council has been so quick off the mark.
â€œFor children in schools, it will not only send an important message about cruelty, but will be healthier for them.â€
There was international attention paid to the subject too. I found this comment and link to the article via one of the social news network sites:
“Jamie Oliver slaughters chickens on British TV to demonstrate cruelty; supermarkets across the UK sell out of free-range animal products”
Related New York Times article:
Chefsâ€™ New Goal: Looking Dinner in the Eye
LAST Friday, in front of 4 million television viewers and a studio audience, the chef Jamie Oliver killed a chicken. Having recently obtained a United Kingdom slaughtermanâ€™s license, Mr. Oliver staged a â€œgala dinner,â€ in fact a kind of avian snuff film, to awaken British consumers to the high costs of cheap chicken.
â€œA chicken is a living thing, an animal with a life cycle, and we shouldnâ€™t expect it will cost less than a pint of beer in a pub,â€ he said Monday in an interview.
â€œIt only costs a bit more to give a chicken a natural life and a reasonably pleasant death,â€ he told the champagne-sipping audience before he stunned the chicken, cut an artery inside its throat, and let it bleed to death, all in accordance with British standards for humane slaughter.
Mr. Oliver said that he wanted people to confront the reality that eating any kind of meat involves killing an animal, even if it is done with a minimum of pain.
â€œWhile it is a small financial commitment to go free range, you cannot put a price on the misery of a hen that lives for a year, unable to move in a space the size of a piece of A4 paper.â€