Global Fast foods restaurants in Africa are lagging behind their counterparts in their home countries on animal welfare. A report released today by World Animal Protection reveals seven global fast food restaurants that have set up shop in Africa do not adhere to the same animal welfare standards for their Africa Markets.
‘The Pecking Order 2021’ ranks fast food restaurants globally on how they are performing on their commitment, ambition, and transparency on chicken welfare in their supply chains. ‘The Pecking Order’ assesses companies via publicly available information on three areas:
- Corporate Commitments – policies that clearly state how important the welfare of chickens is to the company.
- Objectives and targets – a defined timeline that demonstrates the objectives, targets and promises a company has made to improve chicken welfare and when they will meet them; and
- Transparency (performance reporting) – through their performance reporting, and how clear the company is about living up to its promises on chicken welfare.
The report shows, most of the chicken meat served at these well-known quick service restaurants comes from chickens who live in cramped, barren environments with wet caked litter, poor hygiene and sanitation leading to many chickens suffering from lameness and skin lesions. Intensive farming methods also often rely on routine antibiotic use as a quick fix solution to keep stressed and sick animals alive. This over-use of antibiotics is fueling the deadly superbug crisis that kills over 700,000 people a year. Essentially, not only are these chickens suffering – human health is also being jeopardized. Shockingly, many companies show no inclination to improve standards, so consumers are unwittingly buying meat from chickens that are subject to unnecessary suffering and cruelty.
For the first time, in addition to the global assessment, 14 local rankings have been also created to reflect the realities in different geographies. The brands assessed are Burger King, Domino’s, KFC, McDonald’s, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Subway. Key findings from ‘The pecking order 2021’ are:
- European companies are showing genuine progression:
o KFC is the only company in Tier 3 (Making progress) due to alignment with the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) in seven European markets and reporting on its performance against the company’s chicken welfare standards in Western Europe. KFC is the only company to achieve Tier 1 (Leading) positions in any local rankings (i.e. Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden and UK).
o Three companies – Burger King, Nando’s and Pizza Hut – have aligned with the BCC in the UK since the previous assessment. Domino’s (Domino’s Pizza Enterprises) has also signed up to the BCC in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and Luxembourg.
- Commitments are not coming fast enough:
o Hundreds of companies have signed up to the BCC in at least one country. Most commitments are in North America and Europe and one in Australia, with none in Latin America, Africa or Asia.
- Reporting on the proportion of chickens that meet standards is limited.
o Companies aligned with the BCC in North America – Burger King (USA and Canada) and Starbucks and Subway (USA) – have given little or no performance reporting data since ‘The pecking order’ launch in 2018.
While it’s encouraging to see companies like KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut and Nando’s starting to take chicken welfare seriously in other parts of the world, the results remain extremely concerning in Africa. This proves that progress is possible, but most companies still have a long way to go to give chickens better lives.
Dr. Victor Yamo, Farming Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection says: “Many big brand restaurants are denying billions of birds the chance to grow at a healthy rate or behave naturally. COVID-19 has taught us that the welfare of animals and human health is interlinked – there should be no business as usual. Commercial motives are driving cruelty and suffering, and this needs to end. KFC once again has shown leadership in eight countries across Europe since they signed up to the Better Chicken Commitment in 2019, which will improve the lives of millions of chickens. But disappointingly, the commitments they have made in Europe is not being mainstreamed into their African operations.”
“As more people take an active interest in the ethics of their food, more companies are willing to act. Now is the time for real change to happen, and companies that fail to move with the demands of the market are not only causing misery to millions of animals but are also risking their reputation.”
World Animal Protection is calling on these global companies to lead and ensure that any chickens that are being served at their restaurants are guaranteed a life worth living. The companies assessed in ‘The pecking order’ have a seismic opportunity at their hands and could use their power to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of animals.