Reference: Welfare of chickens
Dear Ms MacKenzie,
As a global animal welfare charity, World Animal Protection is deeply concerned by the way the majority of meat chickens are farmed. These sensitive, intelligent animals often endure significant suffering as a result of the extreme genetic selection that pushes them to reach slaughter weight in just six weeks. To compound this problem, industrially farmed chickens are often raised in cramped, crowded sheds, with little to keep them active and healthy.
We are pleased to see that KFC UK and Ireland recognises that the standards which exist to safeguard the welfare of chickens are not adequate. It is commendable that you additionally require the provision of natural light and objects for chickens to peck and perch on. But this still doesn’t go far enough. In particular, we are concerned that your chickens do not have enough space, and are at risk from terrible health problems experienced by fast growing breeds.
Your current advertising campaign – The Whole Chicken – featuring a healthy, strutting chicken, seems to imply that KFC chickens enjoy a high quality life with lots of space and freedom.
But we believe that consumers have the right to know the whole truth when it comes to the welfare of the chickens in their bargain buckets.
In polling we conducted last year, 79% of people who eat chicken said they would not buy the meat from a fast-food chain if they knew it had suffered serious health problems as a result of living in a cramped industrial farm.
In response to your advert, we have today launched a new phase of our Change for Chickens campaign. We are calling for your chickens to be able to grow at a more natural rate and to have the space to move more freely, as well as for greater transparency about the realities of industrial chicken production.
As an iconic global brand, we believe that KFC has an unparalleled opportunity to be a world leader on chicken welfare. Major food brands are already showing that progress is possible, particularly in the US, where businesses such as Burger King have committed to meeting our campaign asks. You state that you take your responsibility to “people and the planet very seriously” and that you “want to be honest about areas where we still have more work to do”. We hope that these intentions extend to farm animals.
We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and explore how we can work together to give chickens a better quality of life.
Stephen Sibbald, UK Country Director – World Animal Protection