From Mrs Joan Haggard

Sir: Your leading article asks "Does anyone care about chickens?" The answer is not nearly enough. It certainly seems that most people do not know, and have not bothered to find out, why the price of poultry is so low compared with other kinds of meat. Intensive broiler production was introduced in the Fifties and Sixties in response to public demand for cheaper food. Now that the true cost, in terms of extreme animal suffering, has been exposed it is up to the public to demand that the procedure is reversed - or, at least, greatly modified.

Humane poultry production may mean using more land (surely better than set-aside) and employing more people which would bring welcome employment to the countryside. And if the cost of a chicken, in actual money, does go up a little, it will not hurt any of us to eat slightly less and have a clearer conscience about it.

Yours sincerely,

Joan Haggard

Harpenden, Hertfordshire

28 September