KFC’s secret recipe for chicken suffering

Brenda Ferretti
Campaigns manager

We are launching a new campaign aimed at KFC, one of the largest fast-food chains in the world, asking them to commit to signing the European Chicken Commitment also in Italy, in order to eliminate the cruellest practices on farms that raise chickens for meat production.

For the launch of the campaign, we created new images that show the living conditions of chickens on almost all Italian factory farms.

Watch the video

KFC campaign

KFC, present in more than 115 countries with a network of 18,000 restaurants and 8 million customers every day, is among the multinationals that have not yet signed the European Chicken Commitment (ECC) in Italy. This is a series of criteria that have been formulated to reduce the suffering of chickens through the adoption of company policies.

In a recent report that we helped to create, we analysed the commitments made by large fast-food chains to eliminate the most problematic practices for chickens raised in their supply chains. KFC Italia had one of the worst scores.

More than 300 companies across Europe, including some in Italy, have already joined the ECC, a commitment that aims to solve the main conditions that cause suffering on chicken farms. One example is the overcrowding of these structures, which can contain a density of up to 20 animals per square metre. The most crucial issue, however, remains the use of genetically selected breeds in order to achieve excessively rapid growth, causing the animals to be more subject to a high incidence of muscular, skeletal and cardiovascular problems.

The suffering of chickens

Problems evident in our new footage collected between March and June 2023, which show the daily reality on chicken farms in Italy.

Close-up of a chicken at just two weeks of age.
© Essere Animali

Due to their rapid growth, the animals reach slaughter weight in about 40 days but are unable to move due to the excessive weight of their breast and deformed legs as a result. In addition, as is evident from the videos, at the end of each production cycle each animal barely has the space of a sheet of A4 in which to live.

The critical issues of intensive chicken farming not only threaten the welfare of these animals but could also have repercussions on human health, because fast-growing breeds generally require more antibiotics than those with slower growth. According to one study, we are talking about a quantity three times higher than that required by slower-growing chickens.

Help us to make a difference for chickens

KFC states that good quality food starts from ensuring standards that are more respectful of animal welfare on farms, but it has not yet committed – as it has already done in other European countries, including France and Germany – to subscribe to the European Chicken Commitment in our country and guarantee higher standards for chickens raised by their suppliers.

For this reason, we are asking KFC Italia to intervene and collaborate by making a concrete commitment to eliminate the most critical issues that cause serious suffering in the rearing of broiler chickens.

Help us achieve this result: sign the petition and subscribe to our action centre so you can participate in our online lobbying actions that we will organise throughout the campaign.