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KFC to introduce animal-welfare standards

Date: 1 May 2003

KFC, the US chicken restaurant chain, has announced new standards described as guaranteeing humane treatment for its birds. The company has also requested a federal government review of slaughthouse methods for poultry.

The company is the latest to respond on welfare issues following a targeted campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). However, unlike with previous announcements, the move was dismissed by PETA.

The new standards apply to the birds' housing, nutrition and transportation to the slaughterhouse, and will be pushed down the supply chain. The company has described them as marking the first time the industry has set farm-level poultry welfare standards.

"KFC is committed to the humane treatment of poultry used for our products," said KFC President Cheryl Bachelder. "Our new guidelines will strengthen KFC's animal welfare practices."

PETA, meanwhile, declared itself to be "disgusted that KFC would attempt to deceive compassionate consumers". It went on to charge that the company was ignoring its own advisory board's recommendations that it adopt further reforms.

"These industry 'standards' do nothing to allow chickens to have anything resembling a natural life. Instead, they allow for the drugging and breeding of animals to make them grow so quickly that they can barely stand and are in constant pain from splintered limbs, from being slammed into crates when inspectors arenít watching, from having their beaks seared off, and from being sent through the slaughter process while still conscious" it said in a statement on its website.

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