THERE is no “nice” way to kill a creature for its flesh, but KFC has at least taken a first step towards a more humane process as the first UK fast-food chain to sign-up to new European welfare standards.
Shops, chains and hotel groups have been urged to commit to the European Chicken Commitment, a single set of continent-wide requirements agreed-upon by European animal protection groups, including the RSPCA.
The KFC commitment goes some way to tackle concerns about inhumane conditions involved in intensive meat production. The American-owned chain (Kentucky Fried Chicken, remember?) is expected to put pressure on fast-food rivals and supermarkets.
KFC hopes the move will help to raise the level of welfare standards across the industry. It says that by 2026, it will ethically source chicken used in UK and European outlets, initiate stricter auditing processes, give birds more space and freedom of movement, and provide perches, better food, and more natural light.
The industry has been under scrutiny for raising fast-bred birds that cannot even stand. It will now purchase slower-growing breeds, and raise them in more humane conditions.
As the world turns against red meat, and veganism surges ahead, “white” meat such as chicken is the “half-way measure” for many consumers. It is seen as healthier — and until now, the welfare of the animals has not been a major consideration.
KFC also offers a vegan alternative to chicken, a patty made from meat substitute Quorn, which is proving popular with customers.