It’s been a big week for us. This week we have simultaneously been Master Ping Xiao Po, Jamal Malik, Rocky Balboa and the entire Jamaican bobsleigh team*, which is to say, the world has seen this plucky vegan underdog going up against the might of KFC.
VFC Versus KFC
You may remember, this all began when KFC partnered with Joe.co.uk and YouTuber Niko Omilana to produce a film celebrating the charmed lives that chickens lead on their farms. Their film shows non-stop partying by those 52,000 birds, all living it up inside that factory farm pleasure dome. There were swings and perches, bells and straw. Those birds were having an absolute riot.
Colour us cynical, but when we saw that film, we just didn’t buy it. We’ve seen a lot of chicken farms, and without exception, they’re disgusting places for animals to live. Tens of thousands of birds – lame, dead, dying, sick, injured and miserable – crammed together, barely existing inside massive, barren warehouses until they either succumb to the conditions or get stuffed into a crate and trucked to a slaughterhouse.
We needed to see this farm for ourselves.
No Enrichment for KFC Chickens
Chickens are inquisitive, bright and active animals. They get bored easily, and need plenty to do to keep their busy brains and curious minds occupied. Most farms give them nothing at all, but this KFC farm made a huge deal about all the enrichment the birds were afforded and all the fun things they could do with their days.
The reality was that every scrap of enrichment had been taken away, maybe as soon as the door shut behind that hired camera crew. There were no perches, bells or straw available to the birds inside that farm unit. All that had been left was one small solitary ‘swing’, sufficient for each bird to have one second of ‘fun’ during their entire lives. This is assuming they could push their way through 52,000 birds to reach it, and were not so lame they could still climb onto it when they got there.
“We really care about our birds, which is why KFC has signed the Better Chicken Commitment,” trilled the farm manager. And don’t those lame birds slumped in their own waste look absolutely delighted about that?
The Truth About KFC Is Out
We could not let such blatant greenwashing go. It’s just not good enough to film all this enrichment only to pack it away again as soon as the ad is filmed and the lights are turned off. It’s not good enough to say you care, while denying sentient beings a life worth living, as well as their right to life.
This disingenuous KFC ad has certainly put some fire in our bellies, which were already blazing infernos. It should not be up to us to check whether these multibillion-pound corporations are misleading the public or whether they have prioritised stuffing a few more dollars into their shareholders’ pockets over letting the birds sit on a perch.
But we will keep checking such claims. And we will expose them every time.
In the last 10 days:
- 4.5 million people have seen our film showing how sentient beings are treated for KFC
- The Guardian’s story has reached countless more
- All these people have been shown why they cannot trust KFC’s marketing
- Niko Omilana has removed the KFC film from his own social media channels
It’s what you might call a spectacular own goal.
We have messaged Omilana and offered to take him inside a typical factory farm so he can see the unvarnished truth for himself, but so far he has not responded. As for us, we will keep fighting for the animal victims of this trade until every factory farm stands empty. Doesn’t the plucky underdog always win in the end?
With huge thanks to Million Dollar Vegan, Joey Carbstrong and Surge Activism for sharing this important investigation and making sure it gets seen.
* Kung Fu Panda, Slumdog Millionaire, Rocky I, II, III, IV, V (were there more?), and Cool Runnings, in case you were wondering.