LOS ANGELES: Claiming victory, People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has dropped a lawsuit against KFC. The suit alleged that the fast-food chain was making false statements in PR materials about the conditions at its poultry suppliers' facilities. KFC and parent company Yum! Brands filed court papers agreeing to stop making the disputed claims on both its website and in statements from public information officers.
"We were surprised," said PETA director of campaigns Bruce Friedrich. "We have been trying nicely to convince them to stop bald-faced lying about the horrible cruelty they are supporting since they first put the lies on the web in January, so we expected them to come up with some sort of defense."
The lawsuit was filed in July in California Superior Court against KFC and Yum! Brands, and was part of a seven-month PETA campaign to force KFC to alter the manner in which
its suppliers raise and slaughter chickens.
KFC, which buys more than 700 million chickens annually, requires suppliers to follow ethical guidelines, and has an agenda in place "to ensure that all birds are handled humanely and suffer no pain," according to past statements. PETA claims those statements are false, and are intended to mislead consumers.
Under the agreement, which was reported in several news outlets, including The New York Times, KFC consumer hotline operators will now respond to cruelty claims by saying, "KFC disagrees with PETA's claims. KFC believes that animals should be treated humanely.
For this reason, KFC has established animal-welfare guidelines for vendors who supply KFC restaurants with chicken."
The KFC website has also been changed.
KFC did not return a call seeking comment.