Today, fast food giant KFC publicly committed to sourcing their chicken to higher welfare standards by signing up to the Better Chicken Commitment, also known as the European Chicken Commitment, in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
Renowned for their chicken (it’s in the name!), KFC will be looking to implement better standards for its broiler chickens by 2026 including more space (stocking density to meet 30kg/m2 or less), improved enrichment provision, and healthier, slower growing breeds.
We applaud KFC's willingness to listen to its customers and improve the lives of the millions of chickens raised each year. We also commend its determination to work with suppliers and franchise holders to support the commitment—which is set to benefit the lives of 72 million animals, predominantly sold across the 890 restaurants in the UK and Ireland.
Paula MacKenzie, CEO of KFC UK & Ireland, said:
"Signing up to the European Chicken Commitment isn’t just a box-ticking exercise for us, we’re doing this because we truly believe it’s the right thing to do. Chicken is our business and we have a responsibility as the chicken brand, to make sure that we are pushing improvement to chicken welfare standards across our supply chain.
Our business depends on the health, sustainability, and reputation of chicken farming and, our customers care about improving the lives of the chicken we buy. That’s why we’re adding our voice to the campaign and encourage others to do the same—because to inspire real change and provoke meaningful action, we need the industry to move with us."
KFC have been working on their animal welfare credentials for a number of years. They secured a Good Egg Award in 2012 for their commitment to cage-free eggs, and have been steadily introducing natural light and enrichment to stimulate bird activity across their chicken supply chain.
More recently, they have made impressive strides with their reporting and transparency surrounding their supply.
Today’s announcement is the biggest commitment to chicken welfare that the company has made to date!
Compassion’s Director of Food Business, Dr Tracey Jones, said:
"It is fantastic to see such an iconic chicken brand boldly commit to such significant welfare improvements in their supply. Compassion has been working with KFC for nearly 10 years and we are delighted with their genuine desire to do the right thing, not only for the chickens in their supply, but for a wholescale market shift towards better chicken too.
No company can lift the welfare of a nations chicken on their own. We hope other companies will take confidence from this commitment and join the growing movement for higher welfare chicken.
I wholeheartedly congratulate KFC for their commitment and look forward to working with them on the successful implementation of these higher welfare standards."
KFC’s ongoing focus on animal welfare was recognized earlier this year when parent company Yum! Foods moved up two tiers in the global Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare.
While this major news about Kentucky Fried Chicken does not yet apply to Kentucky, change is in the air and the momentum is on our side—both here in the US and around the world. Here's to continued progress for chickens!