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Chicken Out, Axminster house prices down

Special KSpecial K Posts: 449
edited January 2008 in Campaign
Last night I watched Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Chicken Run (Channel 4) and was reminded just how xenophobic we can be to each other in this country. I'm guilty, but this is my rant:

I know the programme was supposed to be about animal welfare, but for me the interesting thing was the attitude towards Hugh F-W. Interviews with people on the street indicated they resented him with his fancy ways and expensive shop... I wonder how interviews with "locals" would have gone if it wasn't Hugh F-W, with his Oxford-educated lucid sentences and his slighty foppish hair, but Jamie Oliver instead. Would the loveable Jamie with his School Dinners pedigree and estuary accent have overcome local attitudes and pss-poor maths? Even though he's not a local (which Hugh is), do you think they might have been more courteous?

Anyway, the locals seem to prefer local shops for local people...Even the local newspaper reportedly was blaming Hugh F-W for the housing crisis in Axminster. Which got me thinking: perhaps there was a parallel campaign to Hugh's. A campaign to make Axminster and it's cheap food munching bigots look so unappealing that semi-retired Islington types will stop pushing up the house pricesby buying up the nice houses in Axminster. What better way to keep those nasty liberal anti-foxhunting city types off their land? ;-)

You are what you eat, and from what I can see, Axminster delighted in telling the world that it is cheap, lacking in taste and morally bankrupt.

Watch those house prices tumble.
"There are holes in the sky,
Where the rain gets in.
But they're ever so small
That's why rain is thin. " Spike Milligan

Posts

  • I like Hugh. He comes across well in his programmes and gets Weymouth on tv which is not bad thing :)

    His recipes are wholesome but different and I would recommend his way of doing potatoes. In fact Hugh has inspired us to get an alottment (if Huntingdonshire council would ever come back to us with a date we could take it up).
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    I think you are right to some extent, Hugh is certainly not "one of the people" and that probably allowed a focus for negativity and resistance, however I think the basic message antagonises many meat eaters; eating meat can only comfortably be done without a conscience, and trying to get people to consider that their meat was once a living animal causes a lot of discomfort, people react to this in different ways, but a common one is "shoot the messenger".

    On the price issue, there is a point regarding the cost of ethically reared meat, however many people are "addicted" to meat, and expect it to be the main feature of every meal. With careful use of ethically produced meat, the higher initial cost can be offset, and meals can be designed that are supplemented with other lower cost ingredients (Hugh's risotto demonstrated this), so I believe the budgetary issue is not such a show stopper as some would like to believe.

    Further to this, as ethically produced meat is in greater demand, producers will scale up and prices will fall (though never to the cost of "factory" meat).

    Anyway, I thought Hugh was very brave in starting this campaign, power to his elbow!

    as for the rant:
    You are what you eat, and from what I can see, Axminster delighted in telling the world that it is cheap, lacking in taste and morally bankrupt.
    I don't believe that Axminster was very unrepresentative of the UK, but I do find as a vegetarian, a generally lower level of tolerance and understanding in rural areas where meat production is a norm, and part of the economy.
  • Random VinceRandom Vince Posts: 11,374
    alfablue wrote:
    I think you are right to some extent, Hugh is certainly not "one of the people" and that probably allowed a focus for negativity and resistance, however I think the basic message antagonises many meat eaters; eating meat can only comfortably be done without a conscience, and trying to get people to consider that their meat was once a living animal causes a lot of discomfort, people react to this in different ways, but a common one is "shoot the messenger".

    I appologise to any vegitarians etc about this post:

    i know very well that my meat used to be an animal, if a wood pigion with no tags on its legs flies over the back garden while a BBQ is happening, it doesn't get far, and after a short amount of time it is on the BBQ itself.

    i've done weekends where i've had to hunt for food and cook it myself - rabbits are hard to skin

    I don't like the fact that animals can be treated very badly and think it shouldn't happen

    i also think you can tell the difference in the meat as a result of how the animal lives.

    a friend's parents own a chicken / turkey farm, the only way they know they have all their birds is because they turn up to be fed at meal times, they need a quad bike to get round the space they have 100 birds in

    come christmas time people come and "you can have the big one if you can catch it" takes place and is less traumatising for the birds than a fox arriving.
    My signature was stolen by a moose

    that will be all

    trying to get GT James banned since tuesday
  • nwallacenwallace Posts: 1,465
    I'm not sure how long I have been aware of what meat comes from what animals, certainly been a while. One thing that worried me about being invited to a hog roast was how I would react to having the actual animal stuck on a stick above above a fire. That was despite being quite blase at times about food in general. I am pleased to report that I had no problems at all, ideally the next step is to rear and butcher an animal for consumption my self if possible.

    The difference in quality between an egg layed by a chicken living in a friends field and those clamed to be free range by supermarkets is quite startling and even more so between a supermarket free range and a battery egg.

    Something I find really hypocritical is meat eaters who support charities that aim to remove a food source from people. For example have you ever seen the averts for an organisation that intends on "saving" thousands of dogs each year from the Korean food market? Thats similar to a Korean deciding that Cow or Sheep are cute cuddly pets and shouldn't be sold as food in the UK.

    Also the banning of the Veal trade in the UK has resulted in many more bull calves being killed on birth and the skin removed for sale (the only bit of them with any monetary value) by attaching the innards to a solid object and the skin to the towbar of the vets pickup.

    That to me is a horrendous waste caused by the anti-agriculture governments ill thought out policies.
    Do Nellyphants count?

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  • I agree with the anti-factory stance and have only eaten free-range meat for a couple of years now.
    That's fine for me because, while I am not rich, I can afford it.
    I think that HFW and others can come across a bit evangelical and it puts people off.
    It also doesn't help people with families on a tight budget when a free range chicken costs double the amount of a Tesco/Asda/Iceland budget version.
  • Special KSpecial K Posts: 449
    Is cheap meat a right? I don't think so.

    No more than watching dogs or horses fighting.

    Ultimately it is a question of respect for animals. It's right to point out the irony, or perhaps more accurately hypocracy, of a lot of people in this country who sympathise with or actively support causes that are concerned with animal welfare whilst at the same time our eating habits inadvertedly cause suffering in a great many animals which of course is on an industrial scale.

    People defend cheap chicken on the grounds of cost. To my mind, this is total nonsense. Pointing the finger at supermarkets is red herring. Has the thought not occurred to shoppers who argue budget to simply buy free range chicken slightly less often i.e. once every 10 days and not every week? Have these people not heard of vegetables? What about food economy and cutting down waste?

    Every £2.50 that people save on an economy / institutionally tortured chicken, is the price of their conscience. Everyone has a price and it seems some people are particularly cheap. I don't sympathise with them, and find it difficult to find any respect for someone so unthinking, callous and selfish. If you've made up your mind about how animals should be treated then I see no reason why we shouldn't also make up our minds about those people who perpetuate this state of affairs in the same way we made up our minds about people who kick dogs, starve cats and fight bulls. Cheap chicken eaters are cheap people.
    "There are holes in the sky,
    Where the rain gets in.
    But they're ever so small
    That's why rain is thin. " Spike Milligan
  • As i said, when people put their argument in an evangelical tone it doesn't incline reasonable people who are on the fence to join their side.

    I buy free range meat because it's right for me and I can afford it at the moment. I have no dependents.
    If I was living on a low wage and had children I might not be able to afford free range meat. I would, however, feel that I was failing them if I only gave them meat once every 10 days and expected them to live on vegetables the rest of the time.

    I do care very much about animal welfare, but I think that I would put the diet of my own children first.
  • gandalfcpgandalfcp Posts: 220
    richardast wrote:
    As i said, when people put their argument in an evangelical tone it doesn't incline reasonable people who are on the fence to join their side.

    I buy free range meat because it's right for me and I can afford it at the moment. I have no dependents.
    If I was living on a low wage and had children I might not be able to afford free range meat. I would, however, feel that I was failing them if I only gave them meat once every 10 days and expected them to live on vegetables the rest of the time.

    I do care very much about animal welfare, but I think that I would put the diet of my own children first.

    Are you seriously suggesting that it is not possible to enjoy (yes enjoy) a healthy and balanced diet without eating the rotting flesh of dead annimals?
  • gandalfcp wrote:
    Are you seriously suggesting that it is not possible to enjoy (yes enjoy) a healthy and balanced diet without eating the rotting flesh of dead annimals?
    I've never eaten rotting flesh. As I said, I'm fortunate in that I can can afford to choose good quality, fresh, free range meat - largely sourced from local farmers.

    During my late teens and early twenties I was vegetarian for just over 5 years. Money was very tight, but I tried to maintain a healthy vegetarian diet. Towards the end of that period my weight went down to around 10 stone (I'm 6'2" tall and my normal weight is just over 13 stone) and I seemed to always be ill. I was advised to give up the vegetarianism, so I did.
    My conclusion now is that 100,000 years of evolution has made my species omnivorous and it is unrealistic to think that you can change that in 1 generation. I now settle for trying to ensure that any meat I eat is ethically produced.

    I understand that there are people who don't think there is anything ethical about meat-eating. I understand it because I used to be one of those people. I've changed my mind.

    I strongly believe in the argument for ethical, free range, organic farming and I hope that high-profile people like HFW can make a difference.
    The point I have tried to make (twice) is that normal, reasonable people tend not to be receptive to alternative (to them) ideas when they are put across in an evangelical tone.
    When the argument is put across in exaggerated, rabid, fundamentalist tones I suspect that normal, reasonable people would be turned off, even if they happened to agree.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Richardast, I am a vegetarian, but I believe that meat eating is natural for humans and can be done ethically. I agree with your comments regarding fundamentalist / evangelical tone, though I don't think HFW did this to any great degree, but even in a low key presentation, the subject does upset and annoy some people.

    Regarding your weight loss as a vegetarian, I suggest, with respect, that you didn't do vegetarianism very well (I have no problem in maintaining a healthy weight, albeit slightly on the "generous" side). With care, a vegetarian diet can be as healthy as the best omniverous diet, and is indeed far healthier than the "average" diet in this country, yet the suggestion that vegetarians are pale and weak is still pervasive, even amongst some so-called "health professionals". My son was brought up as vegetarian, and as parents we were frequently confronted by condescending and disapproving comments suggesting that we virtually mistreating him! He has grown up to be a 6'3" rugby playing back row forward, rock climbing, swimming, cycling, tower of strength!
  • Special KSpecial K Posts: 449
    As Hugh F-W pointed out in an interview recently, a free-range chicken for £6 looks reasonable until you find out you can get two intensively reared chickens for a fiver.

    I still think it is an ethical issue, not one of budget. When I was a poor student on a pittance a week, I didn't buy much meat but was never hungry or undernourished. I could have bought more meat if I had given up the booze and fags and scratchcards though.
    "There are holes in the sky,
    Where the rain gets in.
    But they're ever so small
    That's why rain is thin. " Spike Milligan
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