By Sharon Atieno

Despite global fast food brands with franchises in Africa like KFC, Subway, Starbucks and Burger King signing a global commitment to improve broiler chicken welfare, the global standards are not being applied in the continent, a report reveals.

The Pecking Order 2021 report by World Animal Protection reveals that even Nando’s, the only African brand has commitments in Europe but none in Africa, despite having its home base in Southern Africa and operating in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe among other countries.

The report ranks fast food restaurants globally based on how they are performing on their commitment, objectives and targets, and performance reporting on chicken welfare in their supply chains. Some of the restaurants featured include: Burger King, Domino’s, KFC, McDonald’s, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Subway.

Globally, KFC is the best performing in the ranking at 59%, followed by Pizza Hut (42%) and Burger King (40%) while the least performing is Domino’s.

Of the five companies found in Kenya, three (Burger King, Domino’s and Subway) score no points while two (KFC and Pizza Hut) score very poorly (6%) with regards to applying the global commitment.

Dr. Victor Yamo, Farming Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection speaking during the briefing noted that the five companies need to ensure their values are aligned globally. Also, they need to take a stand to improve chicken welfare by signing up to the better chicken commitment (BCC) in Africa.

Globally, the report’s finds that KFC is the only company making progress due to alignment with the BCC in seven European markets and reporting on its performance against the company’s chicken welfare standards in Western Europe.

Three companies – Burger King, Nando’s and Pizza Hut – have aligned with the BCC in the UK since the previous assessment while Domino’s (Domino’s Pizza Enterprises) has also signed up to the BCC in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and Luxembourg.

McDonald’s, unlike many of its competitors, is still unwilling to sign up to the BCC in any market globally. The company has some standards that align with the commitment. These include third-party auditing and humane slaughter; however much more needs to be done, the report reads.

Notably, most points gained by companies in ‘The pecking order 2021’ are through the commitments made and targets set but reporting  However, reporting on the progress made to improve the lives of chickens remains low.

KFC picked up the most points for its performance reporting efforts in relevant European countries. Out of 30 points, KFC receives 15 points for performance reporting; McDonald’s 10 points; Nando’s 6 points; Burger King 3 points, Subway and Domino’s PLC 2 points each and Domino’s Inc and Starbucks, zero.

Domino’s stands out as the worst regarding chicken welfare in ‘The pecking order 2021’. The exceptions within this multi-national are Domino’s Pizza Enterprises and Domino’s Pizza PLC. Domino’s Pizza Enterprises stands out for its commitment to the BCC in European markets including Denmark and Netherlands.

“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,” Dr. Yamo said.

“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.”