Don’t Buy Chicken at Tesco

What links UK mega-supermarket Tesco, Hereford poultry-processor Avara, and US agro-industrial multinational Cargill with massive environmental destruction, both in Herefordshire and also in Brazil?

In two words…. chicken poo... AND IT IS DESTROYING THE RIVER WYE



YOU can help us tell Tesco to live up to its environmental promises ahead of its meeting facilitated by the Wildlife Trust about the Wye pollution on 17th July 2023 at Hay Castle - (Arriving 10:30 - Start 11:00 - 15:00) .

FOLLOW the link below, for an easy way to tell Tesco that NOW is the time to #SaveTheWye!

Back in about 2013, Cargill Meats saw a great opportunity to expand their poultry-processing operations in Herefordshire. With a massive contract to supply Tesco.

They set up Avara (joint-venture with Faccenda) and without significant opposition, then set about promoting expansion of the Intensive Poultry sector locally, with 90 additional Intensive Poultry Units (IPUs) adding many millions more chickens within the Wye catchment… chickens whose phosphate-laden poo would one way or another inevitably have to be absorbed by local lands and watercourses.

Did they carry out anything like Environmental Impact Assessment before doing so? No.

But they should have, because Cargill knew plenty about what it was doing and what the effects would be on local rivers. How so? Because from 2005 and earlier, Cargill had faced lawsuits in the state of Oklahoma due to serious sustained pollution of the River Illinois by phosphates, caused by intensive poultry-rearing along the river catchment in the form of chicken poo.

Chicken poo in industrial quantities damaged the River Illinois, and surprise surprise the same has now happened to the River Wye. Simply, the ‘carrying capacity’ of the Wye catchment has been vastly exceeded - in pursuit of profits for Cargill-Avara, and a steady supply of ‘cheap chicken’ for UK supermarkets notably Tesco.

The Key Component of Cargil's chicken poo is Soya from Brazil

More tragically, the key component of the chicken feed used by Avara-contracted IPUs is high-protein soya, which is grown by Cargill on farmlands in Brazil directly implicated in the rampant deforestation there.

Deforestation which has caused catastrophic ecosystem damage not just locally to forests and wetlands including the Amazon, but has also destabilised the global climate causing floods and heatwaves worldwide, including here in Herefordshire.

Tesco is Contravening its own Environmental Policy - and this is why we say "Don’t Buy Chicken at Tesco"

Despite this self-evident damage to ecosystems in Brazil and in Herefordshire caused by Cargill-Avara operations, Tesco continues to stock the product of this toxic supply-chain, even though this is clearly in contradiction of its own Environmental Policy:

“We aim to ensure that any wastewater or pollutants that have the potential to reach water bodies, such as rivers or lakes, will not have any adverse impact.”

“We recognise that many of our most significant environmental impacts occur in our supply chain, which is why we have a specific environmental policy for suppliers [which] addresses our core sourcing requirements:

-Not to knowingly cause or risk causing irreparable environmental impact

-Take steps to improve adverse environmental impacts identified by the Tesco team or other credible experts.

This River Action video gives useful detail:  

In 2022, Marches Climate Action held a protest action at the Avara plant in Hereford, and outside Tesco’s, while XR Marches and Midlands blocked the Cargill feed mill at Allensmore. Some 500 letters were sent to the Avara Chief Executive demanding that measures be taken to:

  •  a. prevent chicken poo entering the rivers,
  • b. downsize intensive poultry in the Wye catchment, and
  • c. stop the importation of Brazilian soya.

You can still sign our letter!

You can still sign and send this letter from pages on this website - Click the button below:

There has been no reply to the letter from our MPs, and no meaningful action from either Avara or Cargill – just greenwash and attempts to sell an illusory ‘technofix’ solution in the form of anaerobic digestion - which is likely to make the situation worse.

So, Marches Climate Action is now focusing on Tesco’s, calling on the supermarket to take immediate steps to clean up its supply chain in accordance with its Environmental Policy, by refusing to take ‘cheap chicken’ from Cargill-Avara.

This chicken is not cheap at all, if we take into account the full range of consequences caused by its production: of damage to the River Wye - including notably to the local tourist economy – and to Brazilian forests which are the ‘lungs of the world’.

Join Us !

Please sign up here to join our campaign, send a letter to the CEO of Cargill/Avara (our 3 local MPs will be copied in)  and to receive informative mailings from us.

Where oh where does chicken shit go?

Where oh where does chicken shit go?