Gobbling up happy turkeys

Turkeys almost ready for Christmas.
Turkeys almost ready for Christmas.
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DEMAND for ethical turkeys could outstrip supply in the North East this Christmas.

The increasing demand has seen shoppers in the North East claiming that tucking into a turkey which was well-looked after during its life is more important than the size and price.

According to research for the RSPCA, nearly one in four adults living in the region said if they were going to buy a turkey this Christmas they would choose one with a higher welfare label, such as Freedom Food or free-range.

The animal welfare charity claimed just 15 per cent said they would buy the cheapest, largest turkey they could find.

Turkeys from farms inspected to the RSPCA’s strict welfare standards – under the Freedom Food label – rocketed 36 per cent last Christmas, from more than one million birds in December 2009 to nearly 1.4million in December last year.

And although the trend looks set to continue, growing consumer demand means that some animal-loving Brits could be left bitterly disappointed, as the vast majority of supermarket turkeys still come from farms of which the RSPCA disapproves.

However, the majority of the 16million turkeys reared in the UK each year are kept in unacceptable conditions, according to the RSPCA, despite 79 per cent of people in the North East believing more turkeys should be farmed its standards.