The following is an overview of PETA’s campaign against KFC. For more information, please read the full campaign timeline.
In April 2001, PETA started discussing cruelty to animals with KFC’s executives. At that time, KFC pledged to improve conditions and even hired four of PETA’s five suggested animal welfare scientists as advisors. However, nearly two years later, KFC still hadn’t done anything to eliminate any of the worst abuses suffered by the more than 850 million chickens killed for its buckets each year. On January 6, 2003, PETA called for an international boycott of KFC.
From Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, notables from all walks of life have spoken out against KFC’s cruelty. Check out the full list of celebrities, world leaders, and scholars who have been active in PETA’s campaign against KFC.
KFC’s suppliers worldwide have been documented abusing animals in sadistic and even illegal ways. Workers at a KFC “Supplier of the Year” slaughterhouse were documented tearing the heads off live animals, spitting tobacco into their eyes, and spray-painting their faces. Read about other undercover investigations at KFC’s suppliers.
PETA filed a lawsuit in July 2003 accusing KFC of false advertising (based on false information about its treatment of animals disseminated through its Web site, telephone hotline, and news releases) and forced KFC to stop overtly lying. Unfortunately, KFC did not agree to improve chicken welfare and continues to mislead its customers and the media about how its animals are treated.
PETA activists have staged more than 12,000 protests in front of KFCs since the launch of the campaign in 2003. They’ve crawled into cages, tied on bikinis in the freezing cold, walked around on stilts, and “slaughtered” and “burned” an effigy of Col. Sanders. You can plan your protest today by filling out our easy form.
Resignation of KFC’s Animal Welfare Advisors
For six weeks in early February 2005, PETA held several meetings with top KFC executives, including chief operating officer Harvey Brownlee and general counsel Scott Toop. In exchange for a moratorium on PETA’s campaign, KFC agreed to solicit advice from a panel of five mutually agreed-upon animal welfare scientists. The advisors sent their recommendations to KFC but resigned in frustration after KFC refused to adopt a single one of them. One former advisor, Adele Douglass, told the Chicago Tribune that “[KFC] never had any meetings. They never asked any advice, and then they touted to the press that they had this animal-welfare advisory committee. I felt like I was being used.” Dr. Ian Duncan, another former advisor, told the Guelph Mercury that “[p]rogress was extremely slow, which is why I resigned. It was always going to be happening later. They just put off actually creating standards. … I suspect that upper management didn’t really think that animal welfare was important.” Now KFC’s council consists mostly of its suppliers’ executives.
PETA purchased stock in KFC’s parent company, Yum! Brands, so that it could attend the company’s annual meetings and submit shareholder resolutions asking it to take steps toward eliminating the worst abuses that its chickens suffer. The resolutions have garnered national media attention about KFC’s cruelty to animals and shown its investors how callous a company it really is.
Negotiations With KFC President Cheryl Bachelder
In May 2003, KFC President Cheryl Bachelder met with PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk at PETA’s Virginia headquarters. Although Bachelder was deeply moved by what happens to chickens in factory farms and slaughterhouses and pledged to improve conditions for them, KFC reneged on her promises and Bachelder resigned shortly afterward. PETA believes that Bachelder resigned because of her objections to KFC’s cruel treatment of chickens and unwillingness to change.
Humane Organizations Unite Against KFC
As KFC continues to refuse to eliminate the worst abuses suffered by the more than 850 million birds slaughtered for its restaurants each year, humane organizations worldwide are flocking together to demand that KFC adopt PETA’s recommendations—which are the same recommendations made by members of KFC’s own animal welfare board. Joining PETA in its campaign against KFC are The Humane Society of the United States, United Poultry Concerns, Animal Rights International, Compassion Over Killing, Vegan Outreach, the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, the Animal Welfare Trust, Farm Sanctuary, Animal Place, Sequoia Humane Society, Lake Shore Animal Shelter, Clayton County Humane Society, Marin Humane Society, and Assisi Animal Foundation, just to name a few.
PETA Declares Victory in Canada
PETA called off its campaign in Canada after reaching a historic agreement with the company that coordinates purchasing chickens for all KFCs in Canada to dramatically reduce the suffering of the millions of chickens killed for Canadian KFCs. Most KFCs in Canada are also introducing a vegan faux-chicken option to their menus. PETA's campaign against KFC continues in other countries, including the United States. Learn more.
Formal Complaint Filed With FTC
In April 2009, PETA filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) outlining KFC's false and deceptive statements concerning the animal welfare claims that the company makes on its Web site, to the media, and to the general public. PETA asked the FTC to investigate KFC's claims, require KFC to remove all false and deceptive claims wherever they are published, and order KFC to publish corrective advertising. PETA urged compassionate citizens to file their own complaints about KFC's lies on the FTC Web site.