8 April 2019
Better Treatment for Kentucky Fried Chicken’s AnimalsA
As America is known for their fast food restaurants one must wonder where the source of the meat comes from. The farms that raise and provide the protein that is the main dish on every fast food menu is produced in mass amounts. One fast food chain particularly Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), has to raise millions of chickens each year for their restaurants to serve customers in every store across the country and around the world. There is a problem in the process the chickens go through in becoming America’s dinner. The chickens live tortuous lives before being slaughtered and served in that famous red and white striped bucket that many seem to enjoy so much. KFC should have regulations about how they can raise and kill their chickens because they are injected with unhealthy amounts of hormones and steroids, given confined living spaces, and are treated and killed inhumanely.
The fast food company is known for being the biggest provider of chicken and every one of these chickens are injected with drugs. This a concern and could pose a health risk for both, the animals and consumers. In KFC Treats Chickens Inhumanely, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) states, “They are fed drugs and are genetically bred to grow so large and so quickly that their legs, lungs, and hearts often can’t keep up” (8). This inhumane way to make chickens grow quickly is the cause of broken bones, bruises, and organ failure, which only makes the suffering worse for the days they have left to live. During their lifetime, the birds are mistreated from the poultry plants to the slaughterhouses. In Video Exposes Animal Torture, Current Science writes, “The video, which had been shot secretly inside the plant, shows workers torturing chickens in various ways before the birds were killed” (1). PETA has undergone investigation in these plants and has recorded and released the videos of abuse towards the birds. The videos show how their limbs are snapped, they’re stomped on, and even sexually abused by workers. Creating and enforcing strict rules on how to treat the chickens need to be put into place, as well as disciplinary action such as, criminal charges against violators to ensure the safety of the chickens.
In the massive factories chickens are raised in before being transported to the slaughterhouses, there are hundreds of chickens that cover every inch of the area, giving them no space to move around. PETA says that, “each bird lives in the amount of space equivalent to a standard sheet of paper” (“KFC Treats Chickens” 4). The chickens living their lives cooped up with no space are not provided with sunlight or grass to roam around on. In the New York Times, Is That Sausage Worth It? States, “They live out their adult lives without exercise or meaningful social interaction; it’s like a life sentence of solitary confinement in a coffin” (Kristof 8). Living in these factories affects the animals mental health making it difficult for the animals to live a normal and comfortable life. Improving living standards by allowing the chickens to live on cage free farms will help the animals relieve their suffering they go through to be on our plates. The many undercover stories of animal cruelty that we may hear on the news occurring inside slaughterhouses is still a problem in these facilities today. In the article, The Case for Controlled-Atmosphere Killing, PETA has discovered that chickens are thrown into small cages and transported to slaughterhouses to be hung on racks by their legs. They have also discovered that they are electrocuted, their throats are cut open and then they are dragged through hot boiling water to be defeathered, while many birds are still conscious and can feel everything till the very end of the process. This process is called electric immobilization and there is a solution to fixing this problem. It is called controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK), it is a humane way of killing the chickens. PETA states that, “CAK removes oxygen from the birds’ atmosphere while they are still in their transport crates. The birds are not “gassed” (i.e., asphyxiated); they die from lack of oxygen, or anoxia” (7). Using CAK eliminates the high amount of suffering the birds endure during electric immobilization. The birds do not have to be electrocuted or suffer the pain of throat slitting and defeathering processes. PETA also shows how CAK is economically beneficial for the company, since electric immobilization damages the carcasses, “Dumping and shackling live birds causes broken bones, bruising, and hemorrhaging—all of which lower carcass quality and yield” (PETA 5). CAK improves the quality of the carcass as it does not damage them after they have been killed, allowing the farms to sell more birds making more profit. This process is used in other countries proving it to be successful, “Controlled-atmosphere killing…slaughter method that is currently used to kill 75 percent of turkeys and 25 percent of chickens in the United Kingdom and 10 percent of all birds in the European Union” (PETA 5). If these companies are able to implement these methods, other companies should be able to including the suppliers of KFC.
In contrast, KFC said they will make changes to improve the lives of these animals as The New York Times, KFC Supplier Accused of Animal Cruelty, says, “…its KFC website says the company is ‘committed to the humane treatment of animals.’ ”(Mcneil Jr. 17). In opposition, there has been no proof whether these changes have been made. Mcneil Jr. continues to state:
“PETA sued Kentucky Fried Chicken and called for a boycott, demanding that it require its suppliers to give chickens more room in factory barns, stop forcing growth so rapid that it cripples birds, and to gas birds before hanging them so they feel no pain” (Mcneil Jr., 15).
After these demands made by PETA, “Yum Brands [parent company of KFC] did not do as PETA requested…” (Mcneil Jr., 17). Since KFC would not meet demands it was hard to understand why they could not easily switch to making the lives of their chickens better if other big fast food companies were doing so. In the book, The Colonel’s Strategy: KFC, PETA, and Superficial Appeasement, PETA launched campaigns against big fast food corporations like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King to improve the lives of their farm animals and all companies did except KFC (Griffiths and Steinbrecher 730-733). These big companies, except KFC, improved their policies by giving chickens the USDA recommended living space, stopped selling their eggs, and stopped the use of antibiotics to genetically modify them (Griffith and Steinbrecher 730-731). To see that these popular fast food restaurants improved the quality of life for their chickens makes us question why can’t KFC do the same.
In conclusion, Kentucky Fried Chicken has been accused and confronted about the cruelty that occurs in their factories. The injection of hormones and steroids, confined living spaces, and torture the chickens go through is inhumane. To help ease the suffering they go through by being cage free, ending the use of drugs, implementing controlled-atmosphere killing and monitoring animal safety would help these chickens live a better more natural life.
Griffiths, Heather M. and Christopher Steinbrecher. “The Colonel’s Strategy: Kfc, Peta, and Superficial Appeasement.” Sociological Spectrum, vol. 30, no. 6, Nov/Dec 2010, pp. 725-741. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/02732173.2010.510063.
Kristof, Nicholas. “Is That Sausage Worth This?” New York Times, 20 Feb. 2014, p. A21(L).
McCormick, Carol. “More Chickens May Be Boiled Alive
Under USDA’s New Proposed Rule”. United Poultry Concerns, 4 Jan. 2013,http://www.upc-online.org/slaughter/130104petition_new_usda_rule.html.
Opposing Viewpoints in Context, link.galegroup.com.chaffey.idm.oclc.org/apps/doc/A3 59132363/OVIC?u=ranc95197&xid=ab8eb414.
Mcneil Jr., Donald G. “KFC Supplier Accused of Animal Cruelty” The New York Times, 20 July 2004.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “KFC Treats Chickens Inhumanely.” Animal Rights, edited by Shasta Gaughen, Greenhaven Press, 2005. Contemporary Issues Companion. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, link.galegroup.com.chaffey.idm.oclc.org/apps/doc/EJ3010344213/OVIC?u=ranc95197&xid=d68bfa66. Originally published as “Kentucky Fried Cruelty: We Do Chickens Wrong and The Animals,”.
“The Case for Controlled-Atmosphere Killing.” PETA, 13 May 2014 www.peta.org/features/case-controlled-atmosphere-killing/.
“Video Exposes Animal Torture.” Current Science, vol. 90, no. 5, Nov. 2004, p. 14. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=14860163&site=ehost-live.