Celebrity chef and food campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has received a boost in his call for Tesco to raise welfare standards for chickens.
PIRC, the corporate governance adviser, said yesterday that it fully supported the chef's move and would be recommending its members to vote in favour of his special resolution at the supermarket giant's annual meeting next week.
Fearnley-Whittingstall has raised £87,000 to table the resolution, which urges Tesco to adopt the RSPCA's higher standards on chicken or drop its claims that it fulfils the Government's aspirations on animal welfare.
Phineas Glover, a PIRC researcher, told The Times: "This is not an economic argument, it's an ethical one. Tesco is lagging behind its competitors and failing to meet the standards it claims to endorse."
PIRC's call may prompt more investors to back the celebrity chef, who has campaigned against the treatment of broiler chickens on programmes such as Hugh's Chicken Run.
A Tesco spokesman said that the proposals could add about £1 to the price of chickens.
"We think his objective is simply to stop supermarkets selling standard, intensively reared birds, which we feel are important to customers on a budget, particularly in the current climate," he added.
By Daniel Thomas
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