KFC is cruel to chickens, says animal rights group

A A A

Colonel Sanders may claim it tastes finger-lickin' good, but Kentucky Fried Chicken is produced using animal welfare standards that are unacceptable, an animal rights group claims today.

The world's biggest chicken restaurant chain, is being pressured to make life better for the birds it uses with a campaign from the world's biggest animal rights organisation, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).

From this week, selected KFC restaurants in Britain will be subject to demonstrations from activists waving banners proclaiming "Kentucky Fried Cruelty", accompanied by a poster campaign.

In Britain there is wide acceptance, from the Government down, that conditions for broiler chickens – birds intensively bred for meat – are now the most serious remaining farm animal welfare problem, with millions of the 820 million birds bred every year dying before slaughter from illnesses or cramped conditions.

Peta says it wants KFC to end what it claims are "crude and ineffective" electric stunning and throat-slitting to kill birds and replace the process with gas. It also wants the forced rapid growth of chickens to be phased out, more space for each bird, and "minimal enhancements" to the birds' living conditions, such as sheltered areas and perches to provide them with some semblance of their natural environment.

It also calls for automated chicken-catching to reduce the high incidence of bruising, broken bones and stress associated with catching the chickens by hand.

Dawn Carr, director of Peta Europe, said: "KFC is the world's largest killer of chickens, and as such has a responsibility to treat these birds humanely. Nearly 800 million chickens are killed every year in the cruellest ways imaginable. Although our ultimate aim is for people to go vegetarian, we are calling on KFC to implement some welfare standards and make life a little bit better for these birds."

The British protest arises from the clash between KFC and Peta in the United States, where both are based.

From the humble 1939 beginnings in Louisville, Kentucky, of white-haired Colonel Harland Sanders and his "secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices", KFC has grown into a global giant to compare with McDonald's, serving more than two billion meals annually in more than 9,900 restaurants in 82 countries across the world.

Peta, whose previous targets have included celebrities wearing fur and schools serving milk to pupils, has about 750,000 members, most in the US, with about 40,000 in the UK.

The group alleges that KFC and its American parent company, Yum! Brands, have done nothing to improve chicken welfare despite nearly two years of pressure, in contrast to the burger chains McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's, who made changes to their practices after Peta criticism. KFC in Britain had not responded to letters and phone calls from Peta, Ms Carr said.

KFC said yesterday: "KFC is committed to the well-being and humane treatment of chickens, and we require all of our suppliers to follow welfare guidelines developed by us with leading experts on our animal welfare advisory council.

"Our suppliers are receiving unannounced audits at their poultry facilities throughout the year to ensure strict compliance with our guidelines. Failure to comply will result in termination of our supplier agreement, if remedial action is not taken.

"Additionally, we have taken a leadership role with our trade associations to establish standardised guidelines for the entire poultry industry."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
healthMeet the volunteer users helping to see if the banned drug can help cure depression and addiction
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Life and Style
tech
News
i100
News
Foo Fighters lead man Dave Grohl talks about the band's forthcoming HBO documentary series
people
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Direct Mail Machine Operative

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an i...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Day In a Page

Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The officials are caught in the web of US legal imperialism - where double standards don't get in the way

Caught in the web of legal imperialism

The Fifa officials ensnared by America's extraterritorial authority are only the latest examples of this fearsome power, says Rupert Cornwell
Bruce Robinson: Creator of Withnail and I on his new book about Jack the Ripper

'Jack the Ripper has accrued a heroic aura. But I'm going after the bastard'

The deaths of London prostitutes are commonly pinned on a toff in a top hat. But Bruce Robinson, creator of Withnail and I, has a new theory about the killer's identity
Fifa presidential election: What is the best way to see off Sepp Blatter and end this farce?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

What is the best way to see off Sepp Blatter and end this farce?
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards