The UK poultry industry has responded angrily to celebrity chefs' claims that cheap chicken comes at the expense of animal welfare.

The practices of UK farmers were thrust under the spotlight by two Channel 4 programmes this week, one by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the other by Jamie Oliver, which were part of the channel's 'Big Food Fight' series.

Suggestions that chickens reared for meat were battery farmed were totally misleading, said the British Poultry Council and NFU, stressing that low supermarket retail prices did not mean poor standards of animal welfare.

"It is disappointing that once again the British media are referring to chickens reared for meat as battery farmed," the two organisations said in a joint statement. "This is untrue and our members who look after the national flock are fed up of hearing it repeated. Chickens reared for meat in Britain are kept indoors or are free-range - they are never kept in battery cages."