Hugh’s Chicken Run


Hugh Fearnley-Shittingstool 

It’s only pertinent that I, Piqued, head up the fucking row – I mean debate – that has been brought to mine face by Hugh F Whitting-Wotsit over the past three evenings on Channel 4 (which, when I read, I hear it in my head as ‘ChA-NEALL fOOOR’ on account of this West Indian male announcer they employed back in the day. I digress) due to an ongoing discussion regarding a certain Mr. Bernard Matthews and his Chicken Kiev(s).

The premise is simple. Start two chicken farms, one a cuddly free range one, and the other a scene from a painting by Bosch/Breugal depicting hellish acts of (in this case, chicken) damnation – a battery shed.

From scratch the redoubtable Hugh FW cheerily goes about collating information/resources/experts in order to realise his dream of converting the straw-chewing bumpkins of Axminster to go free-range by demonstrating that shoving 50,000 birds into an area the size of a hankie isn’t a very nice thing to do (actually it’s 19 birds to a square metre) where they don’t have access to daylight to increase their growing time from chick to slaughter, which takes just over a month. Obviously the free range fellas are provided with their own five bedroom houses, top of the range Lexus, wide screen TV’s (three of) and a games room, with a full size snooker table and bar.

Hugh’s campaign got off to a bright start by recruiting some families who worked in the nearby allotments. After a brief period of doubt, he made them physically see the different ways of rearing chickens: the lot reclining on Chesterfields reading The Telegraph and other the poor sods pecking shit out of their dead mates’ arseholes in the dark. Apart from one fat cow called Hayley, all were converted tearfully on the spot.

But not all was well in the village. The locals (and really, this lot were a fucking good reason for never leaving London) barked and grunted paranoid abuse in the direction of Hugh and his campaign. Within hours, there were rumours that Hugh’s free range chickens cost ‘twenty pund’. The thick inbred cunts – sorry, did that come out loud? All this as Hugh tirelessly attempted to sign up shops to sell free-range produce. After a hilarious confrontation at the local Tesco (who up until this point had been totally uncooperative, as had the Co-operative, ironically) in which the manager thought Hugh had called him an arsehole, he began to make some progress.

Incidentally, in terms of the campaign having a long term and far-reaching sustainability, Sainsburys seemed to be by far and away the most prepared to assist Hugh’s Chicken Out campaign on a national level. We’ll see…

Overall, the programme was a success. This was due entirely to Hugh’s determination and enthusiasm for his campaign. He was obviously upset at the battery conditions he’d created in order to highlight his plight – on one occasion he was reduced to tears after having to dispatch yet another suffering creature from the intensively reared chicken shed and I noticed his language got all blue and rude due to his exasperation at the backward-thinking townsfolk and money-grabbing corporates as a symptom of his passion.

In all this, however, there was one major flaw, something that vegetarians understand, and for good reason. The bottom line, despite the way they were reared (though I maintain free-range rearing is paramount) is that all the creatures wound up being caught and knacked in the same way, carted off in cramped conditions, hung up upside down on a conveyor, stunned in electrified water and having their throats slit open by the sticker, all for the food industry. I do eat meat, I didn’t used to precisely because of the whole killing part and I am careful to make sure I eat free range/organic birds. But really, eating a free-range animal will always remain the lesser of two evils and no amount of campaigning will change that.

Oooh – look – Piqued just got all serious and deep. I’m off to KFC to recover.

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72 Responses to “Hugh’s Chicken Run”

  1. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    If all this intensive farmin means I can buy a chicken for two quid, I’d frankly nail the little bastards’ wings to a wall.

  2. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    ‘Farming’ is what I meant to say there. It was the thought of a delicious, battery-raised broiler that caused me to type like a big spazzock.

  3. Swineshead Says:

    There was a real danger of it falling into ‘holier-than-thou’ territory but he avoided that trap quite well, I thought.

    Though I’m still bound to eat the odd chicken kiev when hungover, I’m avoiding packaged sandwiches full stop this year, as a resolution. They’re rank anyway.

    It’s a good start but why the fuck are we reliant on TV chefs to sort out lying supermarkets? It’s a joke. There’s no government involvement whatsoever. Axminster’s all well and good but this is really a tiny drop in a vast ocean. Good on the silly haired posho for trying, you can’t knock his attitude. But to change this would take (like the education system as mentioned in Mr Chipz’s excellent post yesterday) years and years. So HFW’s attempt is a bit of a hollow victory.

    I wonder if Napoleon will chip in with a comment…

  4. Swineshead Says:

    Oh – there he is…

  5. piqued Says:

    Why should the gov get involved, they’re only concerned with the economy. Battery chickens aren’t a threat to public health (yet)… Jamie Olivers school dinners campaign was, so they responded. (I’m not defending them btw, the scabby sods)

    …And the supermarket responds to the wills of the consumer in order to make a profit, if horse became legal then Tesco would probably sell 2 wraps for a fiver, whereas M&S organic brown would go for £8…

    Point here is that it’s the consumer that needs educating, and that, sadly, is down to celebrity chefs these days because we don’t educate children about nutrition. This is Mr. Chipz fault btw.

    Oh, it’s the organic brown for me time and time again.

  6. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Well, I ask you. Out of the two animal welfare stories I can think of at present, I’m at a loss as to which I give least of a shit about – the whales, or the chickens.

    Yes, it’s the chickens … no … the whales … the chickens …

  7. Swineshead Says:

    I believe Eric was an animal – you cared about his welfare so don’t come over all cold on us. WE LOVE YOU.

  8. Swineshead Says:

    You’re right, it has to come from the consumer, but as you point out this is a vicious circle that it’s going to be hard to snap. Though Hayley was a minority on the show, in the real world she represents the vast, vast, vast majority.

  9. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    ‘Battery chickens aren’t a threat to public health (yet)…’

    A reference to Bird Flu there. Chickens that run about outside have no chance at all of coming into contact with an infected wild bird, do they, eh Piqued? Their indoor brethren, with only roofs, doors, strict veterinary and hygiene standards to protect them from ecternal contamination, are fucked in comparison.

    Don’t take that little ‘(yet)’ of Piqued’s too seriously, folks.

  10. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Eric was an animal, yes. But that doesn’t mean I have concerns for every animal on the planet. Spiders are animals, as are snakes, wasps, slugs, foxes, rats, etc. I couldn’t care less about them, so why the fuck should I give a shit about chickens? I only like dogs and horses … and I’d probably eat both.

  11. Swineshead Says:

    Humans are animals…


    See? I win. Just won. Right there.

  12. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    If Hugh’s so bothered about animals, why doesn’t he get himself over to Kenya and try saving some of those big buggers out there? With the country descending into chaos, it won’t be long before all those lions ‘n’ elephants ‘n’ cheetahs ‘n’ shit become target practice for twelve-year-olds with AK-47s. There’s shit-loads of chickens, not so many rhinos. Come on, Hugh, pull your finger out, you boggly-eyed fruit-loop.

  13. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    And Russell Brand should be hanged, while I remember.

  14. Swineshead Says:

    I’m sure there’s a call for upper class TV Chefs out there – he’d have a lot to offer I’ll be bound.

  15. Swineshead Says:

    What’s your beef with Brand?

  16. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    My beef with Brand? I don’t like him, there’s the beef. I don’t find him funny, I don’t find his faux-19th century way of talking clever, I think he’s trying to hard to impress, I don’t admire the way his humour appears to be shouting out random collections of words, then sniggering and looking pleased with himself. I prefer my comedians dry, not fizzy and superficial. Personal preference, old boy. Don’t like him, never have, doubtless never will.

    You can’t like everyone. Just see the thunder when you criticise TPPPOLLAAPAOOCRISPS. I was with you on that one, but if you like the Brandster, then we are enemies, you and I.

  17. Swineshead Says:

    We’ve always been enemies you short sighted fool! Keep ’em close, I say.

    Brand’s alright, though it’s blatantly obvious he’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

  18. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I put him in the same category as Julian Clary and Graham Norton. ‘Outrageous’ comedians who are eventually tamed by the British broadcasting system (I note Clary’s been doing ‘This Morning’ – fight the power).

    Plus, I prefered Russell Brand when he was called ‘Kenneth Williams’.

  19. Swineshead Says:

    Norton’s still peddling the same rubbish as he was at the start.
    Clary’s just got older…

    He’s alright. There are far more poisonous apples in the apple-cart worthy of hatred.

  20. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Of course there are. But my black old heart’s got plenty of space. Brand’s nestled safely in there, as are that smirking prick Noel Fielding, that rubbish Kate Thingy off of MySpace that got a record contract despite having a horrible, accented singing voice, him off of X-Factory, that rat bastard Demot O’Poppers, the forever pregnant Davina McShithouse, him wot won Britain Clearly Ain’t Got Talent, that shithouse Jimminy Carr, that son-of-an-anus Simon ‘Fucking’ Cowell, and Lulu and her coven of non-celebs on that fucking Morrisons advert that ruined my Christmas.

    AND that gaggle of wimmin singers they’ve got at the moment infesting the hit parade. That lot – your Allens and Meluas and Tunstalls. That shower of shit.

  21. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    And that overweight bunch of raddled old sows on Loose Women. That lot should be introduced to the wonders of the ducking stool and the tongue lash (that said, the Nolan weight-loss DVD they’re advertising at the moment is weirdly MILFlicious … I need professional help).

  22. Swineshead Says:

    I’m with you on about 89% of these. Leave off Fielding and Brand though, I have a feeling you’d have liked them when you were fifteen and had more hair.

  23. badgermadge Says:

    if anything the killing scene made me want to go veggie again (i won’t of course, i’m far too lazy). but part of me was thinking: “surely it’s more evil to rear a chicken ‘nicely’ and then kill it for food.”

    so that fat cow can’t afford free range? maybe she should eat so fecking muich then, that’d save her a few bob towards it.

  24. Swineshead Says:

    If you’re going to eat it, it’s clearly much better to raise it in circumstances it’s comfortable with. The fact that all farmed chickens are going to get slaughtered eventually is neither here nor there, it’s like saying you can treat prisoners on death row any way you want because ultimately they’re going to fry.

  25. piqued Says:

    NP, I wasn’t referring to bird flu, I was referring to the potential problems that could (and arguably have) occur (ed) in people long term due to all the growth hormones, et al, they stuff in battery chickens.

    Read My Booky Wook before you make a decisive opinion of Russell Brand too. If it doesn’t change your mind about him I will tar and feather myself and become intensively reared for 39 days prior to being knacked for your supper.

  26. badgermadge Says:

    yeah… it’s just part of me felt really sorry for the chix what got to run around and play with footballs and stuff. at least with the battery ones you felt you were putting them out of their misery.

    regardless of that, free range chickens are better for you because their meat is leaner (being able to run around and that) plus i hated the whole ‘their own piss burning their skin’ thing… i’ve seen those marks on some of my birds, and always wondered what it was… *shudders*

  27. badgermadge Says:

    re brand: hated him at first, watched a few interviews with him where he’s a bit calmer and very eloquent and actually like him. think he’s been thru a lot and has come out the other side with a wonderful take on it. fair play to the man.

  28. piqued Says:

    … case in point, that Hayley woman in last nights show, she ate battery chickens and was the size of a fucking shed

  29. Swineshead Says:

    I think just reminding NC of the title of Brand’s book will probanly rile him to the nth degree.

    Brand was poo on BB last night…

  30. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Piqued – No, no thanks. I prefer reading proper books, not the infantile ramblings of a man I don’t like and am not interested in. If we are throwing around recommendations, try William Haig’s cracking biography of William Pitt the Younger. A superb read for growny-uppy-wuppies.

    Swineshead – You might be right. I used to love Vic ‘n’ Bob at that age, so it’s not beyond the bounds of possiblity that that idiot Fielding might have appealed. However, who’s to say it wouldn’t have been TTPPPPOLAGERAPPPCRISPPACKETLLLPPTCRISP that floated my comedy boat? Actually, that ain’t likely.

  31. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    ‘regardless of that, free range chickens are better for you because their meat is leaner’

    Whatever the hell that means. You want lean food? Try a kilo of sugar – there ain’t an ounce of fat in that.

    (Remember – fat not bad, fat not bad, fat mean flavour, body need fat, fat not evil)

  32. Swineshead Says:

    The Boosh chaps are highly talented and enormously funny, particularly their radio 4 series which is free here if you fancy a quick punt:

    Having known you when you were a little lad, you definitely wouldn’t have liked TPOYFLAAPOYNCPBYFC.

  33. Swineshead Says:

    That is a rubbish mnemonic.

  34. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I couldn’t get on with that Boosh thing at all. Different strokes for different folks.

    (Don’t like Fielding’s sniggering ways)

  35. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:


    They didn’t get round to that word for the five minutes I was at university, care to elaborate?

  36. Swineshead Says:

    They have dictionaries online, you lazy sod…

    It means a method of remembering stuff. Like you may or may not have used when revising for exams. Generally acronymns that form words, but not restricted to that – fat not bad, fat not bad, fat mean flavour, body need fat, fat not evil.


  37. piqued Says:

    NC, that’s about the third time you’ve referred to that book by the alopecia areata totalis Thatcher-child.

    How about you try the Brand book? I’m pretty sure you’ll like it, really. I read your blog, I know what amuses you. I FUCKING KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE AS WEL SEW DUNT FUCKS WITH ME

  38. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Piqued – It’s a cracking book, what can I say? Anyway, if you read my blog, you’ll know some preening idiot with a stupidly-titled book ain’t going to float my boat. Plus, I’ve got a condemnation of the Catholic church’s behaviour during WWII to tackle next (attempt number two). I don’t think Russell’s anecdotes about heroin and fucking TV stars is going to fit in.

    Swineshead – Oh, right y’arrrr. I didn’t know I was doing one of them things.

  39. piqued Says:

    ‘Booky Wook’ comes from Burgess’ Clockwork Orange, another stupid book?

  40. piqued Says:


  41. Swineshead Says:

    Piqued – a fact he goes to great lengths to let everyone know about.
    It doesn’t make it a good choice for a book title…

    I like his Guardian sport articles.

  42. piqued Says:

    (I didn’t know that actually, it was something I just ‘knew’ being all litterater and thats)

  43. Swineshead Says:

    Eggy wegs?


  44. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Piqued – As well as thinking My Booky Wook is a stupid thing to call a book, I thought Moloko were shit … does that mean I think A Clockwork Orange is shit as well as stupid? Because that appears to be your logic by lumping together Brand’s throwaway stocking filler and a great work of 20th century literature.

  45. Swineshead Says:

    Have to agree with NC on this, I believe it’s called a literary pretension.

    Nothing to do with chickens, mind.

  46. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Yes, it’s saying, ‘Hey, I’ve read an important, grown-up, proper book, look! Aren’t I the clever little fellow? Be impressed by my knowledge!’ Big deal. Burgess, as far as I’m aware, came up with his own titles – as do most real authors.

  47. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    As for chickens, fuck ’em.

  48. piqued Says:

    I was merely being facetious; not demonstrating ‘literary pretension’ It wasn’t my intention and it’s certainly not my style, so fuck offs

  49. Who Says:

    William Pitt the Hague Younger’s Autobiography or Booky Wook? Which is best?

    Only one way to find out – FFFFFFIIIIGGGGHHHHTTTT

    *shuffles off*

  50. piqued Says:

    William Hague vs. Russell Brand…

    A bald right wing politician vs. a witty literary Lothario (check out that alliteration in honour of his might)

    If you need a fight to see who wins that then we may as well all pack up and go home now

  51. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Hague, surely? He actually constructs jokes, unlike Brand. Brand’s game is to say something meaningless and random (“OOOOO, they’re all going to be crucified by giant electric bears, madam!), clasp his hands together, push ’em towards the camera whilst cocking his head on his shoulder, then smile in self-satisfaction at the camera.

    So it’s Hague, yes?

  52. Swineshead Says:

    You’ve clearly not seen much of his stuff, he’s pretty dextrous with the old language – I think you’re put off by his delivery and appearance.

    He’s a funny man and certainly doesn’t rely on the ‘surreal’ humour you mistakenly accuse him of there.

    In addition, I wouldn’t spend one pence on anything put out by that little turd Hague.

  53. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I’ve seen him live with my bare eyes if that’s enough for you? In between the yamns the most I remember was him reading stuff out of a newspaper and then mading unfunny comments about what he’d just read out. Hilarious.

    I don’t agree that he’s a funny man. I think he’s highly overrated and rather too eager to please. A show-off without the arsenal is what I think of the bugger.

    Just because you like him doesn’t mean everyone has to.

    And has Hague done something to you to warrant such hatred?

  54. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    ‘Yamns’? That’s ‘yawns’, surely?

  55. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    ‘Mading’? I’m losing it ‘ere.

  56. piqued Says:

    Hague constructs jokes alright. Thanks to his hilarious appearance as a 16 year old doing a terrible Churchill impression at the Tory party conference in 1977 he’s made himself permanently unelectable, the bald prick

  57. Swineshead Says:

    ‘In addition, I wouldn’t spend one pence on anything put out by that little turd Hague’

    That’s not hatred, it’s pretty much indifference.
    Something you’d be well served employing with RB, otherwise you might end up sounding like you’re actually balls-deep in love with the bugger and all this is a charade to cloak your burning desire.


  58. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I love reverse logic. You get a lot of it on here. U dun like TPPPLLLCRISPSXXX bcuz ur all jellus etc. Now the contributers are joining in – well done chaps.

    Get back to watching Big Brother, kids.

  59. Swineshead Says:

    I was only mucking about.

    Still fail to see where you got this idea:

    Brand’s game is to say something meaningless and random (”OOOOO, they’re all going to be crucified by giant electric bears, madam!)

    It’s balls, my good man.

  60. piqued Says:

    Dear NC, tis mere banter, do lighten up for the sake of crivens

  61. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    No, it’s not balls – you just seem to be ignoring a vital part of the guy’s act. Try watching him on recent shows such as Have I Got News For You or The Big Fat Shit Of The Year … random rubbish shouted out to get a bewildered laugh. Fielding likes to pull off the same trick … both apparently learned this cheap surrealism trick after watching Vic ‘n’ Bob as young ‘uns.

  62. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    And anyway, is he a friend of yours or something? You seem rather over-protective.

  63. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I’ve had enough, anyway. I’m going to go on a killing spree via the magic of Call of Duty 4.

  64. Swineshead Says:

    Not a friend, no. Not a friend. No-one famous wants anything to do with me, which I find bizarre.

    *rubs shit into own ears*

  65. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I’m friends with a famous person. Wouldn’t want to say who, but, boy oh boy, would you be impressed if you knew which has-been 1980s television actor I’m friends with. Oh yes, oh yes. AND I’ve slobbered all over a tit-mag girl in the flesh.

    I’m like a walking Heat magazine, me.

  66. Crivens Says:

    I don’t mind, but thanks for worrying about me.

  67. piqued Says:


  68. Swineshead Says:

    I dun getit

  69. piqued Says:

    (look at my post prior to the last)

  70. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Still don’t get it. Piqued’s gone off his rocker, I reckon.

  71. mostlylouche Says:

    It was a great program, I wonder if it has had an effect on the people?

    Now I can’t help but look at the bit in the supermarket where the chicken is stored to see which type is winning and selling more.

  72. laurablood Says:

    Im wondering if next year the popularity of this campaign will have worn off and other animals popularity have taken the chickens place, beef out campaign perhaps? Im just a little unsure how long the effects of this campaigne will last for, to keep the awareness I think the media will have to keep broadcasting such programmes to up the publics interest.

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