If I were to list the most interesting experiences I’ve had in my 26 years of life, I’d say that eating a meal of vegan fried chicken with the president of the company that coordinates the purchasing of chickens for all Canadian KFCs at the PETA HQ—in the midst of our bitter five-year battle with the chicken chain—would make the top 10.
That was back in December. Six months later, I’m happy to report that our bread-breaking (along with negotiations, dozens of e-mails and phone calls, and a meeting in Toronto that preceded my “chicken” dinner) was successful: PETA has officially ended our Kentucky Fried Cruelty campaign in Canada. Our decision came with a new animal welfare plan that will affect all chickens killed for KFCs in Canada.
For one thing, 100 percent of the chickens killed for Canadian KFCs will be purchased—through a phase-in program—from suppliers that use “controlled-atmosphere killing” (CAK), the least cruel method of bird slaughter available. CAK works by replacing birds’ oxygen with a mixture of nonpoisonous inert gasses to gently put them “to sleep.” It may sound horrible—because killing animals for a fleeting taste sensation always is—but for animals killed for food, it’s a 180° turnaround. Gone will be the days of broken bones, abuse by workers (because with CAK, workers never handle live birds), electric shocks, and live throat slitting and scalding.
The conditions for animals on farms will also be improved. In addition, the company that coordinates the purchasing of chickens for all Canadian KFCs will encourage the chicken companies supplying Canadian KFCs to move away from the cruelest breeding and farming practices and will also form an animal welfare advisory council.
But I haven’t even gotten to the best news yet. That vegan fried-chicken meal that I ate with the head honcho in December might not be his last. Most KFCs in Canada will now be adding a vegan chicken item to their menus. That means that at least 65 percent of KFCs in Canada will now have a totally cruelty-free option (ask for the item, called the Classic Vegetarian Sandwich, in a wrap and with no mayo to make it vegan). Not too paltry, huh? (Get it?)
As for our campaign against KFC, it continues in full force everywhere else. In fact, I sent a letter to the CEO of KFC’s parent company, Yum! Brands, today urging him to make the same changes that are being made in Canada.
Thank you to everyone who helped us win this historic victory by staging protests, writing letters, and forwarding videos (among other things).
To everyone who has yet to help: Lend a hand by logging on to KentuckyFriedCruelty.com and signing our petition urging KFC to improve animal welfare worldwide.
Posted by Matt Prescott, Assistant Director of Corporate Affairs