A recent report released by fast-food giant KFC shows that three out of 10 chickens sold by the restaurant suffer from footpad dermatitis. This is a condition typically caused by keeping chickens in a poorly ventilated environment or a lack of proper hygiene. The condition is characterized by severe inflammation, which may lead to mobility problems in chickens. Although this condition affects about one-third of the chickens served by KFC, it does not pose any danger to human consumers.

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KFC executives chose to lay the statistics bare so that they can make improvements and keep tracking the progress in the future. According to the data collected by surveying KFC chicken suppliers in the U.K. and Ireland, the number of birds affected by severe inflammation had fallen from above 50% to just 35% in the past 4 years. The fast-food chain plans to continue reducing the number of birds affected by this condition.

Related: KFC partners with Beyond Meat for vegan chicken nuggets

Most of the chickens raised for KFC are fast-growing breeds that take about one month to mature. The desire to have the chickens mature fast leads to more health complications in the chickens. Further, rearing more chickens in limited spaces also makes it impossible to maintain the ideal conditions for the birds.

The same data released by KFC has also shown that 1 out of 10 of its chickens suffer from hock burn, which is caused by ammonia from the waste of other birds. This data goes to show that a lot has to be done to improve the conditions under which KFC chickens are kept. The report found that most KFC chicken suppliers maintain a mortality rate of 4% of all the chickens they keep. According to the U.K.’s Red Tractor, all chicken suppliers in the industry should maintain a mortality rate of less than 5%. Although KFC suppliers fall below the cut, more needs to be done to reduce the rate as much as possible.

Paula MacKenzie, general manager of KFC U.K. and Ireland said, “This report sends a clear message to everyone — our suppliers, our teams and our stakeholders — on exactly what we are looking for in terms of welfare improvement. We know that what gets measured gets managed, and the figures in this report represent a solid benchmark against which we can track our future progress.”

KFC will remain in the spotlight in the coming months, with many people interested to see the improvements that will be made in the near future. The company says it will be shifting to slow-growing birds in a bid to minimize the mortality rate and reduce sickness within the birds.


Via The Guardian

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