For the fourth year in row, Yum Brands ranked second lowest in the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW), a performance that World Animal Protection slammed as “unacceptable”.
The BBFAW, launched in 2012, is a global report that measures meat companies’ performance and disclosure on animal welfare issues. It is the fourth year in a row that KFC has fallen short and comes as World Animal Protection kicks off its Change for Chicken petition, which calls for KFC to improve welfare conditions for its broiler birds.
The charity expressed concern that Yum! Brands and KFC did not have policies in place for the reduction of routine antibiotic use – something large-scale poultry producers like Cargill and Tyson Foods have recently implemented.
“This conveyer belt of rapidly grown chickens comes at a price,” said Steve McIvor, CEO of World Animal Protection. “Behind the world’s favourite meat is an unacceptable cost of suffering that is increasing as the global demand for chicken grows.
“KFC has the power to make change across the supply chain and poor animal welfare in industrial farming cannot be ignored. A better life for these animals relies upon global, large-scale changes across the industry.”
A recent poll from World Animal Protection revealed that 8 in ten people are unaware that a broiler chicken – one used for fast-food chains – lives only 42 days. Out of 12,000 participants, the survey revealed 81% of people would not buy chicken from a fast-food supplier if they knew the bird had suffered serious welfare violations.
As such, the charity wants to see KFC more away from a high-speed growth programme for its birds. World Animal Protection also wants KFC to provide its broiler hens with more space and natural light.
“We need to expose the woefully poor conditions that many factory-grown chickens are living in,” added McIvor. “They are suffering in secret, behind closed doors and away from public view.
“KFC has a huge stake in the market with more than 18,000 outlets in 115 countries. We’d like to see them use their global influence to show they care about the welfare of chickens.”
GlobalMeatNews asked KFC and Yum Brands for a response to the report, but had not received one as it went to press. However, a KFC spokesman stressed that the report does not apply to its UK or Ireland operations, as all of its poultry meat in the UK and Ireland is Red Tractor certified.
Separately, Yum! Brands fell short on sales targets in China due to the South China Sea dispute, according to its third-quarter trading report, published on 5 October. However, the business reported a global core operating profit rise of 11%.