KFC top for chicken welfare among UK fast food firms

19 July 2021

KFC has ranked first among fast food firms in its treatment of chickens within its supply chain, according to a report.

KFC was the only UK fast food chain to score in the top tier in The Pecking Order report carried out by World Animal Protection. 

The report ranked fast food restaurants globally on how they perform on their commitment, ambition, and transparency on chicken welfare in supply chains. 

The result marks a drastic improvement for KFC in the rankings, which had previously ranked as “very poor” in 2019. 

The result comes after KFC became the first UK fast food retailer to sign up to European chicken welfare standards last year.

These standards commit companies to ​​stricter auditing processes, reducing stocking density to give birds more space, and investing in “environmental enrichment” such as perches, pecking objects and natural daylight.

Starbucks and Subway were ranked lowest in the report, with both companies scoring zero points on their corporate commitments, objectives and targets as well as performance reporting within their supply chains. 

Jonty Whittleton, global campaign head at World Animal Protection, said: “KFC once again has shown leadership in the UK and Europe since they signed up to the Better Chicken Commitment in 2019, which will improve the lives of millions of chickens. But it is disappointing that companies such as Starbucks, Subway, McDonald’s and Dominos are refusing to change for the better.

“As more people take an active interest in the ethics of their food, more companies are willing to act. Now is the time for real change to happen, and companies that fail to move with the demands of the market are not only causing misery to millions of animals but are also risking their reputation.”

The report claimed there was an “unacceptable lack of action” taking place to ensure animal welfare. 

Over 72bn chickens were farmed for consumption during the pandemic, and most of these lived in cramped conditions with no sunlight, with many suffering from skin lesions, the report found.

The report said: “What’s clear is that our current food and farming systems are broken. They are failing people, animals and the natural world.

“Whether it’s Covid-19, the climate crisis or another disaster-in-the-making that we haven’t yet predicted, the way we produce food affects and is affected by almost everything else. Everything is connected – and we must work together to make food systems more humane and sustainable.”

The Pecking Order 2021:

1). KFC

2). Nandos

3). Burger King

4). Pizza Hut

5). McDonald's

6). Dominos

7). Starbucks

8). Subway

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