Sign Up For The Chicken Out Campaign Here

Click this link to sign up for Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall's campaign to better the lives of the chickens we eat.

Me, I only eat organic chicken if I can help it, having known some lovely chickens growing up. Of course, then I only wanted their eggs - being vegetarian. When I started eating meat again after over twenty years as a veggie, I couldn't countenance eating anything that hadn't had a good life. We were poor then too, but instead of buying cheap meat; I bought meat less frequently and often used it as an element of a dish rich with vegetables and maybe pulses. I might add some meatballs to a stew or use a little lamb on the bone to make a fragrant Persian dish. We ate eggs and fish and pulses to get our protein and saw meat as the icing on the cake.

Now we're not poor anymore, but I still view meat as part of a varied diet and not the mainstay. We buy the best we can afford and aim for variety, some rabbit and pheasant when in season, locally reared lamb, organic beef bones to make stock and maybe a tiny piece of fillet to add to the broth at the last minute and about once a fortnight, a lovely organic chicken, complete with neck and giblets for stock.

When you have seen a chicken scratching around in the grass under an open sky, or telling its mates very loudly that its just laid an egg, running down the field squawking, 'not now, I've got a headache' at a lecherous cockerel and when you have peered through the dark of the hen house and seen that beady eye cocked to one side, as you snatch another warm egg; its impossible not to have a certain amount of affection for chickens.

Because chickens are birds and not a crop to be grown and harvested. When you realise the sad, painful and pointless lives that battery farmed chickens live, I know you will think twice about tossing some cheap chicken breasts into a pan for supper and remember that chicken is a treat.

A once weekly or even fortnightly event that starts with maybe a roast bird on Sunday, followed by chicken salad on Monday and then mid week with a lip smacking chicken soup with the stock you made from the carcass and froze for such an occasion.

Cooking like this honours the bird that gave its life. Three meals from one bird! How can you eat those breasts and forgo the pleasure of a good stock or some crispy skin, or the caramelised bits in the bottom of the roasting pan?

Well I know you won't, because you care about food. So help raise awareness by signing up and helping those chooks that are subject to the ignorance of the masses who don't know and think they don't care.

Chicken recipes to follow.......