In answer to PETA’s lawsuit filed in July against KFC and its parent company, Yum! Brands, accusing the corporations of lying to the public about their animal-welfare policies, KFC and Yum! Brands have made sweeping changes to their Web sites and their customer service scripts.

Lawyers for KFC provided the text of the new customer service script to PETA to review in order to determine whether they were sufficient to stop the lawsuit. The changes amount to what PETA had asked the court to require of KFC, and as a result, PETA will now end its lawsuit.

PETA’s victory in this lawsuit—which PETA believes to be unprecedented in that it is a successful suit for false representations about the treatment of farmed animals—puts corporations on notice that they cannot abuse animals and lie about it with impunity. The false claims that have now been removed from the KFC and Yum! Brands Web sites include the following:

• that chickens raised for KFC suffer no pain
• that chickens raised for KFC suffer no injuries
• that KFC suppliers use “state-of-the-art” slaughter equipment
• that humane treatment of the birds is “ensured”
• that KFC prohibits its suppliers from giving chickens growth-promoting substances
• that KFC has had an animal-welfare policy in place for nearly a decade

Further, the new script given to KFC customer service operators prevents KFC personnel from continuing to falsely tell callers, as they had been doing, all of the following and more:

• that PETA’s claims about the way chickens are treated are “untrue”
• that PETA lost a lawsuit about the way KFC treats chickens
• that in a dispute between PETA and KFC, PETA was ruled against by a mediator
• that KFC’s animal-welfare panel monitors suppliers for compliance with its guidelines
• that KFC has implemented gas-killing as a more humane way of killing chickens
• that KFC has “strict” guidelines for its suppliers
• that chickens raised for KFC suffer no pain or injuries

All of these statements had previously been made by KFC representatives to callers to the customer service lines. All are absolutely false.

“What this case proves is that when it comes to the humane treatment of chickens, KFC can’t be trusted to do the right thing … or even to say the right thing,” says PETA’s legal counsel Matthew Penzer. “KFC’s dishonesty has been exposed—now we continue our fight to stop the company’s horrific abuse of chickens.”