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Greens Challenge Tegel To Open Up Factory Farms

Green MP Sue Kedgley welcomed today's confirmation from Tegel's national vet that antibiotics used in their chicken feed make chickens grow faster, and is challenging Tegel to open up its factories to journalists and the public.

Tegel's National Vet David Marks is reported in The Listener today as saying: 'Sure they [antibiotics] enhance growth. We don't deny that birds grow fast because antibiotics are in [their feed]'.

The Advertising Standards Board was to meet tomorrow to discuss Ms Kedgley's complaint over Tegel's 'No growth hormones, pure and natural, barn raised' advertising campaign, but the hearing has been postponed at Tegel's request. It will now be held on April 9.

"I welcome Tegel's admission that the use of antibiotics makes their chickens grow faster, especially in light of their campaign to 'explode the myth' that there are growth hormones in the chickens," said Ms Kedgley.

"The difference between a growth promoting antibiotic and a growth promoting hormone is largely semantic and is meaningless to consumers. To vigorously promote the fact that one is not being used while quietly using the other on a daily basis is cynical and misleading."

Ms Kedgley said despite its advertising campaign, she did not believe Tegel was serious about 'exploding myths' or ensuring consumers knew the truth about their farming practices.

"If Tegel are concerned about consumer's right to know then they would not have denied my office four requests for the list of antibiotics used in their chicken feed," she said.

"If they are proud of their 'barn raised' chickens and really want to 'explode the myth' about conditions in heavily stocked poultry factory farms, they would not have denied a Listener journalist access to a poultry factory farm to see for himself the conditions birds are reared in.

"What have Tegel got to hide that they will not allow journalists to inspect their factory farms?" Ms Kedgley asked.

"I challenge Tegel, as part of their campaign to educate consumers about the reality of chicken farming, to allow journalists and members of the public into their factories to see for themselves the truth behind their advertising campaign."

Ends

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