The Red Tractor Poultry board met last month to discuss issues which are affecting poultry members.

Animal Rising’s promised ‘summer of activism’ against livestock farmers was an important point of discussion. The timing and outcome of the Judicial Review into poultry welfare legislation has, for now, denied activists the campaigning backdrop they were expecting.

The team at Red Tractor have been working hard, alongside retailers and the British Poultry Council, to achieve more balanced coverage of poultry farming practices. For instance, in a BBC Radio 4 interview this month with Open Cages, the presenter challenged claims made by the spokesperson and forced him to admit his assessments of poultry farming practices were opinion, not fact. Small wins, but this is progress.

The activist groups are planning more disruption and members need to take sensible precautions. It’s always good practice to ensure staff training is up to date and birds are always managed appropriately for example.

Consumers do however expect regular on-farm checks. This is why Red Tractor’s advertising campaign highlights how our assessors carry out checks all year round, rain or shine. We must keep our promise to consumers. The pandemic and HPAI disrupted many aspects of poultry farming, including the Red Tractor audit regime. We have therefore changed the frequency of poultry assessments to ensure all members of the scheme receive at least two audits in a 24-month period, with at least one of those audits being an on-farm audit. You can read more about the changes and how they affect you, here.

As ever, your Red Tractor Poultry Sector board is here to support your excellent work in these difficult times, and we thank you for your continued commitment to food assurance. Please feel free to contact us on memberhelp@redtractor.org.uk and 020 7630 3320 if you have any questions or concerns. We are happy to help.

Best Wishes,

Iain Gardner

Red Tractor Poultry Sector Chairman