KFC leads on chicken welfare while Subway and Starbucks lag behind – report

·3-min read

KFC is leading UK fast food chains in the welfare of chickens raised for their meat, while Subway, Starbucks, Domino’s and McDonald’s fall far behind, according to an annual ranking by charity World Animal Protection.

The league table ranks fast food restaurants globally and locally on their commitment, ambition and transparency around the welfare of chickens in their supply chain.

In the UK, KFC was the only brand to achieve “leading” status with an overall score of 92%, followed by Nando’s on 78% to reach a level of “good”.

Burger King and Pizza Hut were both assessed as “making progress” with scores of 70% and 67% respectively.

Starbucks and Subway ranked at the bottom of the table with 0% and a “very poor” assessment.

(World Animal Protection/PA)
(World Animal Protection/PA)

WAP said KFC’s work with the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) – a set of standards for birds’ welfare – and its reporting on its performance against its own standards set it apart from other retailers.

Nando’s, Burger King and Pizza Hut also scored high points for signing up to the BCC in the UK, unlike Starbucks, Subway, Domino’s or McDonald’s.

The charity said most chicken meat served up by the major fast food chains still came from from birds living in cramped and barren environments with no sunlight, with many suffering from lameness and skin lesions.

Intensive farming methods also often relied on routine antibiotic use as a “quick fix” to keep stressed and sick animals alive, it said.

WAP global campaign head Jonty Whittleton said: “Many big brand restaurants are denying billions of birds the chance to see sunlight, grow at a healthy rate or behave naturally.

“Covid-19 has taught us that the welfare of animals and human health is interlinked – there should be no business as usual. Commercial motives are driving cruelty and suffering, and this needs to end.

“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 Domino’s 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.

“World Animal Protection is calling on these global companies to lead and ensure that any chickens that are being served at their restaurants are guaranteed a life worth living.”

Peter Trundley, supply chain director at Domino’s Pizza Group, said: “We support the aims of the BCC and many of the processes we currently have in place meet, and in some cases, exceed the requirements of the BCC as well as the regulations for chicken welfare in the UK and Europe.

“We are pleased to see the report acknowledges our efforts to provide environmental enrichment are in line with BCC standards. In addition, all our broiler chicken is 100% cage-free, and we require all suppliers to demonstrate they are continually striving to enrich the living environment for the birds, including providing suitable pecking objects, perches and natural daylight.”

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