KFC adds animal welfare standards

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky Fried Chicken Corporation adopted guidelines and audits May 1 for the humane raising and handling of poultry.

The new standards address the breeding, hatching and raising of poultry at the farm level. It is the first time the industry has set farm- level poultry welfare standards.

The fast food restaurant chain has been working with university and industry experts for more than two years to establish the standards and audit procedure.

Since the formation of its animal welfare advisory council in 2001, the company has begun unannounced audits of its suppliers’ processing facilities.

KFC does not own or operate any poultry farms or processing facilities. It purchases chickens from 18 suppliers who collectively operate 52 facilities around the country.

Growth space. Under the new standards, birds must be able to move about freely and have access to feed and water. A written health care plant must be developed with a veterinarian that includes preventive care and disease control.

The measure also addresses education and training of poultry supplier personnel; improved hatchery operation conditions; nutrition and feeding; routine inspections of facilities by growers; and catching and transportation.

Temple Grandin, Colorado State University animal scientist and expert on animal welfare, is working with KFC to assist with implementation of its farm-level guidelines and will continue to conduct announced and unannounced audits of its suppliers to ensure full compliance.

Is slaughter humane? Additionally, the company is calling on the USDA and the Department of Labor to review gas-killing technology for poultry as a possible alternative to current poultry slaughter methods.

The proposal has been suggested by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The company is asking the federal government to study whether this alternative method is more humane than current slaughter methods and does not negatively impact the quality of the meat produced.

There are over 11,000 KFC outlets in more than 80 countries and territories around the world.

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