KFC, McDonald’s, Nando’s and Domino’s Pizza are subjecting billions of chickens to lives of misery that end in a painful death, according to what is thought to be the first global investigation of its type.
The world’s nine biggest chains – also including Burger King, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Subway – have, following the investigation, been rated “poor” or “failing” on chicken welfare, and accused of putting birds through “chronic pain” in “brutal” industrial-scale systems hidden from the consumer.
World Animal Protection (WAP)’s report found “an almost-universal disregard among the brands … for improving the treatment of chickens throughout their global supply chains”.
The fast-food brands say they adhere to Red Tractor standards or their own animal welfare guidelines, or exceed minimum legal standards.
About 40 billion meat chickens – or broilers – are raised each year in factory farms, living in pain and suffering lameness, skin lesions and even heart failure, the report claims.
Two-thirds are genetically selected to develop so fast their legs cannot bear their weight, and are raised in barren, dark warehouses that curb their instinctive behaviour, the report says.
It identifies six common problems: being bred to grow too quickly; overcrowding; cages that severely restrict movement; alien, unhealthy environments; unnatural lighting, and often “squalid” conditions.
No company was graded higher than “poor” in the report. Domino’s was judged “failing”.