Ethics is one of the most crucial factors that every company is judged upon and can make or break the company’s image. Analyzing the media I have concluded that KFC has suffered from immense critique on the ethical side of the company. Mainly, there are three big charges against KFC by organizations varying from Greenpeace to organized unsatisfied customers. These three points of critique consist of: Animal rights, hygiene problems and environmental damage.
- Animal Rights
Complaints have been existing for a long time about animal abuse in KFC's slaughter plants. The accusation was that workers in the slaughterhouses were torturing the chickens. But a few years ago even a video was leaked that contains footage of employees jumping up and down on live chickens, playing soccer with the chickens as ball, ripping the chickens' heads off to write graffiti in blood or tearing beaks off the chickens for fun .The supervisors at the plant are indifferent about these acts of cruelty and only order the employees to stop the cruelties if inspectors drop by. This video of the cruelties was published by PETA and sent to several American and British veterinary experts, who were disgusted by the footage.
- Hygiene problems
KFC has, however, more problems than animal abuse alone. The company is also accused of hygiene problems and even admits that this is true. During an inspection at an English branch, cockroaches, mice and flies were found. KFC was fined £19,000 after a cockroach had been found eating a chip at one of the UK's busiest branches in London's West End. There is even a special website of an organization for unsatisfied customers at www.kfcmademesick.comabout the hygiene problems. This organization of customers who literally got sick from KFC food is organizing a collective lawsuit against the company. The site has hundreds of stories ranging from a woman who got served a sandwich with raw chicken in it to a girl who developed salmonella poisoning from eating a KFC chicken wrap. These are not local or isolated incidents, but occur often and all over the world from China to the United States.
- Environmental damage
KFC is also involved in Amazon destruction according to Greenpeace. Greenpeace, furthermore, accuses KFC of involvement in illegal deforestation, land clearing, and slavery by continuing to buy chickens from their suppliers who feed them on soya from the Amazon. However, Greenpeace isn’t the only organization that accuses KFC of environmental damage. The Dogwood Alliance, an environmental group that wants to preserve the forests in the South of the United States, has launched a campaign against KFC. Dogwood Alliance claims that while the fast food industry is one of the largest consumers of southern forest products, it has been slow at adopting sustainable sourcing practices for paper products.
KFC policies dealing with critique
After all the critique that has appeared in the media, KFC Canada has agreed to the recommended guidelines of PETA in 2008.The United States branch of KFC, however, still does not agree to these guidelines. KFC rejects all the accusations and states that since 2004 they have become a leader in animal welfare with stringent policies and an animal welfare advisory board. KFC is very proud of its Animal Welfare Advisory Council but research has found that this council only plays a symbolic role.
“[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. Adele Douglass, former animal welfare advisor to KFC, Chicago Tribune)
KFC has also posted their animal welfare policies on their website as a way of dealing with the critique. The problem, however, is that no real evidence is provided that these policies are real and actually being enforced in the KFC plants.