Practical Issues > Factory Farming - Index > Birds

Help end the suffering in a fast-food bucket
June 11, 2005

Following the release of my new Kentucky Fried Cruelty video exposé, which shows how chickens on KFC supply farms and slaughterhouses are abused in ways that would be illegal if the victims were dogs or cats, I turned down a meeting with Mr. John Bitove, CEO of KFC Canada operator Priszm Canadian Income Fund. Mr. Bitove's invitation was patronizing and indicated that he had no interest in actually learning how chickens are treated.

While it's true that conditions in Canada are at least slightly better than in the United States, all of the issues that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and I have raised about U.S. chicken farming are also problems in Canada: The chickens are still denied their every natural desire, drugged and bred so that many can't walk, and cooped in their own excrement for their entire lives.

During gathering, many end up with painful bruises and broken wings and legs. Current slaughter methods guarantee that many birds will have their throats slit while they are still completely conscious and that others will be scalded to death while they are still able to feel pain.

The University of Guelph's Dr. Ian Duncan, who is North America's leading expert on chicken welfare, wrote just a few weeks ago about chicken-farming conditions in Canada: "The primary breeding companies have been genetically selecting birds for fast growth so intensively that the bones and joints of some birds do not form properly and the birds end up lame."

About gathering, he wrote: "The problem here is that catching crews are generally not paid an hourly rate but are paid for doing the job -- and the quicker they finish catching in one barn, the quicker they can move to the next -- so catching tends to be rushed and therefore rough."

Of slaughter, he wrote: "One of the biggest welfare problems comes at the end of birds' lives . . . any birds that have not been properly stunned or cut are still alive and conscious when they go into the scald tank -- and this must be agonizing for them. . . . Fortunately, a new method for killing birds has been developed in Europe that overcomes all these problems. It's called controlled-atmosphere killing and involves placing the birds, still in their transport crates, into a tunnel that has a very low oxygen level. The birds sink into unconsciousness very peacefully and are dead within one minute."

Every one of you reading this right now can take this issue seriously and learn the facts by watching my anti-KFC video at As a Canadian consumer, you can help make positive changes for chickens, which are interesting individuals and every bit as deserving of our compassion as dogs or cats, by letting Mr. Bitove know that you don't want to buy chickens that have been crippled, abused and scalded alive.

Together, we can help protect the 850 million chickens killed for KFC from the worst abuses that they suffer.

Pamela Anderson is the star of the television show Stacked, a model, and an animal activist.

 Bea Arthur talks about KFC