Chick on factory farm

The Pecking Order 2020: Is KFC leaving its US customers behind?



Today, World Animal Protection launched its second annual Pecking Order report, which shows that the top nine fast-food chains are still failing chickens.

Today, World Animal Protection launched its second annual Pecking Order report, providing consumers with a tool to measure and understand the welfare commitments and performance of the top nine fast-food chicken chains.

It may come as no surprise that most chains have still not set global commitments to source higher welfare chicken. Six of the nine companies were ranked as having “poor” or “very poor” chicken welfare globally. Many companies either failed to improve or received lower scores compared to our 2019 report.

This situation is clearly unacceptable, and the companies are taking a significant risk by ignoring their responsibilities to the animals at the center of their businesses.

Chickens on factory farm

The Pecking Order is a global overview. Companies receive points for having commitments, targets, and performance reporting on chicken welfare in only some markets in which they operate.

While KFC moved up in rank compared to 2019, this reflects its adoption of the Better Chicken Commitment in six European countries last year: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Belgium. This means that for its customers in those countries KFC will:

  • use chicken breeds that grow at a healthier, more balanced rate
  • give chickens more space and natural light
  • use enrichments such as perches and straw bales to encourage important natural behaviors—all by 2026.

​The company estimates these actions will positively affect 72 million chickens.

KFC clearly understands that chickens are suffering in its supply chain and that it has the power to make a change.

But in the US, KFC has made no progress towards improving the welfare of its chicken leaving its customers here behind the times. Looking solely at each company’s commitments and performance in the US, KFC would be tied for fifth out of eight companies (*Domino’s PLC does not operate in the US) as the graphic below illustrates.

Tell KFC: Don’t fail US customers, adopt the BCC in the US now!

us pecking order ranking

The criteria for measuring and ranking companies are based on the Better Chicken Commitment, a robust set of welfare improvements crated by some of the world’s leading animal protection organizations drawing on the latest scientific evidence.

Companies are awarded points across three main elements: corporate commitments, objectives and targets, and performance reporting. Each section has six questions and a total of 30 points can be awarded for each of them, giving a total of 90 points across the assessment. Based on their scores, companies can sit in one of the six grades given, ranging from ‘Very poor’ to ‘Leading.’ Companies are provided the opportunity to review their completed assessments prior to publication.

Transparency is crucial in managing broiler welfare. For this reason, only publicly available information is considered in ‘The Pecking Order 2020.'