- The Washington Times - Monday, July 7, 2003

LOS ANGELES — An animal-rights group yesterday sued the KFC fast-food chain, accusing it of lying about the “cruel” way its chickens are treated, lawyers said.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed suit in Los Angeles, claiming the company disguised the “grotesque abuses inflicted upon chickens by suppliers” in its online advertising.

“KFC has said from the outset that they will not allow the animals to feel any pain, [but] in fact every moment of these animals’ lives is characterized by unmitigated misery,” said Bruce Friedrich, PETA’s director of vegan outreach.

“The suppliers breed and drug animals so that they grow six times as quickly as they did 50 years ago. Their legs and hearts and lungs can’t keep up and they get so big that they collapse under their own weight.”

PETA claims that the chain, founded as Kentucky Fried Chicken and sporting the “Colonel Sanders” logo, used deceptively false statements on its Web site to “mislead animal-friendly consumers” into buying their food.

The lawsuit takes issue with a KFC statement on the company Web site that its guidelines for the treatment of chickens are designed “to ensure that all birds are handled humanely and suffer no pain.”

That statement “is deceptive at best,” PETA said in the draft.

The action, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, is part of a six-month PETA boycott of KFC products aimed at improving the way more than 700 million chickens are raised and slaughtered for the firm every year.

Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands, KFC’s parent, dismissed PETA’s claims as one of a series of “publicity stunts designed to mislead the public.”

“We stand by our information as truthful and accurate,” the group said in a statement.

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