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H On S Apologises Over False Chicken Claims


12 May 2008

Herald On Sunday Apologises Over False Chicken Claims


The New Zealand poultry industry today welcomed an apology from a Sunday newspaper following a series of false allegations from food writer Peta Mathias.

Writing in the Herald on Sunday, Ms Mathias launched a strong and confused attack against poultry production methods in New Zealand.

Ms Mathias falsely claimed New Zealand's supermarket chickens are raised in cages.

Ms Mathias also claimed meat chickens are de-beaked, fed hormones and injected with protein and water to boost their weight. None of these allegations are true.

Ms Mathias also mistakenly claimed shed-reared chickens can "rush into piles" causing death. This claim is now also accepted to be not true.

Ms Mathias failed to check her claims with the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand (PIANZ).

The Herald on Sunday has since publicly apologised for misleading readers in the May 4 article. The following apology appeared in the newspaper's May 11 edition.


CORRECTION: LAST WEEK'S ARTICLE

In Peta Mathias' food page last Sunday, several statements were made regarding the farming of chicken in New Zealand.

The Herald on Sunday accepts that the statements below were incorrect and apologises to the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand for inaccuracies published.

1. The Herald on Sunday accepts that chickens raised for meat in New Zealand are not raised in cages.
2. Chickens farmed for meat in New Zealand are not fed hormones.
3. Chickens farmed for meat in New Zealand are not de-beaked.
4. Chickens farmed for meat in New Zealand are not injected with protein and water to boost weight.
5. Mortality rates for chickens farmed for meat in New Zealand is 3 per cent - not 30 per cent as published.
6. The Herald on Sunday accepts that shed-reared chickens will not rush into piles in which they will die.

The Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand (PIANZ) says the misreporting was potentially very damaging, but the industry accepts the newspaper's apology.

PIANZ Executive Director Michael Brooks says he's astonished some media commentators cannot distinguish between fact and myth.

"The media have a responsibility to check their facts. They should not be perpetuating myths and regurgitating old wives' tales.

"We don't raise chickens in cages. We don't inject them with hormones, protein or water.

"And none of our chickens have ever seen Elvis or been abducted by aliens."


ENDS

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