Animal-rights group PETA is dropping lawsuit against KFC

Tuesday, September 2nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An animal-rights group is dropping its lawsuit against KFC Corp., saying the fast-food giant has agreed to change misleading statements about its treatment of chickens.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued KFC in July, claiming it was misleading the public by denying it mistreats chickens headed for its restaurants, PETA officials said Monday.

PETA planned to drop the lawsuit Tuesday, said spokesman Bruce Friedrich. It was being abandoned after KFC and its parent company Yum! Brands agreed to change statements on its Web site and in customer-service telephone operations that PETA alleged were misleading, he said.

Jonathan Blum, senior vice president for public affairs for Yum! Brands, said Monday he was unaware of the planned action.

Information removed from the company's Web site includes claims that chickens raised for KFC suffer no pain or injuries, KFC prohibits its suppliers from giving chickens growth-promoting substances, and the company maintained an animal-welfare policy for nearly a decade, PETA said.

KFC also agreed to change the script given to customer service operators, preventing them from telling callers that PETA's claims about the treatment of chickens were untrue and that the animal rights group lost a lawsuit regarding the way KFC treats chickens.

``We're pleased that KFC's dishonesty has been exposed, and we will continue our fight to expose and stop the company's horrific abuse of animals,'' said PETA attorney Matthew Penzer in a statement.

Filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the lawsuit claims more than 700 million chickens slaughtered each year for KFC chicken restaurants ``often endure suffering, often intense, for most, or all, of their lives.''

The suit is part of a campaign waged by PETA against KFC and Yum! Brands to force the fast food giant to adopt new standards designed to improve conditions for the chickens and more humane slaughter.

The animal rights group was seeking an injunction to prevent ``deceptive advertising practices.''