Keen animal lover Philippa Forrester is a household name, having presented some of the landmark series of the past two decades, including Tomorrow's World, Robot Wars, Zoo Watch and her most recent BBC series, Halcyon River Diaries. Today she adopted 13 ex-battery hens from the British Hen Welfare Trust and announced her new role as its Patron.The charity, which has so far re-homed nearly 250'000 commercial laying hens, aims to educate the public about how they can make a difference to hen welfare, and encourages support for the British egg industry.
Philippa has had hens from the British Hen Welfare Trust a few times over the years and loves watching them blossom from tatty threadbares to glossy, feathered birds. Her recently and beautifully filmed BBC series, Halcyon River Diaries, was a joy to watch and in the second series Philippa is determined to introduce the girls to the snapshot of her idyllic life by the riverbank.
Philippa said: 'Rehoming ex-battery hens has given me such pleasure, from the moment we place them on their first grass to the months that follow as they settle in, I love every moment, the sunshine on their backs, the new plumage and of course, the best thing, which is that with this wonderful freedom comes their increased confidence to finally be a chicken and enjoy doing all the things that chickens like to do!'
Jane Howorth, who founded the British Hen Welfare Trust said: 'We are over the moon to welcome Philippa as our Patron. Having an ambassador such as Philippa on board, who not only supports our work but lives and breathes our ethos, is a massive help in getting our message out to the public.
'Her 13 lucky ex-battery hens will no doubt enjoy their new found freedom in Philippa's care. We are proud of our re-homing record, but it's just the tip of the iceberg – there are still 16 million commercial laying hens in cages in the UK. Re-homing these hens is important but our overriding aim is to encourage support for the free range egg industry by asking consumers to only buy products containing British free range eggs. This is so that all laying hens can enjoy the good quality life they deserve. I am delighted to have Philippa's support in helping us with this goal."
Philippa, describing her hens starting their retirement 'in the lap of luxury,' said:
'Our batch of thirteen hens arrived in silence but they are already becoming vocal and beginning to tell me all about it! Every day the British Hen Welfare Trust transforms lives - and not just those of the chickens!'