For the first time ever, a new BBC documentary put a spotlight on the farms that house the 23 million chickens a year in the U.K. that are used for KFC fried chicken.
Photos from the documentary show the conditions of 34,000 chickens living in one of the farms – conditions that animal rights activists have criticized intensely. According to the Daily Mail, the chickens are alive for 35 days before being gassed to death, chopped into portions and sent to distributors.
The chickens essentially live in their own excrement, doing nothing besides eating and drinking until they are at the weight required by the fast food chain. A worker at the particular farm – one of 1,000 nationwide – maintained that the chickens have a “good life” at his farm, adding that he “wouldn’t mind being a chicken in here.” The farmer, named Andrew, said the living conditions for the chickens are sanitary and humane.
“As you can see, they’ve got beautifully clean feet and that is a good sign that these birds are healthy and they’ve been grown on good litter,” he said. “You can see this is a good, healthy chicken. I can’t think there’s anything better than being sat in a chicken farm looking at chickens. You can see for yourself, they look absolutely fantastic.”
Andrew said that the chickens walking around in excrement is not an issue because he uses sawdust to keep the ground “as dry as possible.”
Andrew Tyler, director of animal rights group Animal Aid, said in a statement that the conditions on the farm are “oppressive.”
“These birds have no meaningful life," he said. "They endure a wretched existence in giant windowless sheds stinking with ammonia. A very large number die from starvation or dehydration. About 900 million of these birds are produced in country each year about 30 million-plus die in the sheds.
“Millions of these birds, just like the ones KFC is commissioning to be produced, die in sheds wretchedly and painfully every year," he added. "These birds are deprived of everything that makes life worth living. The next step after this is to be grabbed by their frail legs, and shoved in crates and taken off to slaughter. A great number suffer broken bones during this process.”
The documentary, which marks the first time that cameras have ever been allowed inside KFC’s farms, prompted KFC to release a statement maintaining their commitment to animal welfare.
“Animal welfare is essential for high quality food and is important to our customers, and all of KFC’s suppliers meet or exceed UK and EU welfare requirements,” a spokesperson for the chain said. “KFC was the first quick-service restaurant to gain Red Tractor certification and we have in place our own robust standard, which is independently audited by third parties.
Source: Daily Mail / Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk