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Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704


Rap against KFC grows

Simmons rips slaughter

Rap mogul Russell Simmons has  added his multimillion-dollar voice to the growing chorus of African-American  leaders calling for blacks to shun Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Simmons called slaughter practices used by KFC suppliers "grossly  inhumane" and told the Daily News he has filmed a commercial "showing some of  the very worst abuses chickens undergo" before landing on customers'  plates.

He said he has talked with officials from Yum! Brands, KFC's parent  company, and warned he will release the spot and organize a boycott if the  company does not make "reasonable reforms within a reasonable time."

Simmons, chairman of Def Jam Records, said KFC is "very, very big" in the   black community. But he added, "When a company targets our community,   disrespects us as consumers and sells us products ridden with negative energy  and laced with toxins, that is our business."

There are about 250 KFC stores in the five boroughs.

Comedian and activist Dick Gregory and former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume  also have been highly critical of KFC.

Celebrities from Pamela Anderson to Paul McCartney have rallied to the  cause.

The movement is gaining steam as the fast-food industry is reeling from   threats of mad-cow disease and avian flu and the national obsession with  low-carb food. Nevertheless, Yum! Brands - also the parent of Long John  Silver's,

Pizza Hut and Taco Bell - posted a 6% increase in profits last  year.

Simmons, a vegetarian, has promoted an animal abuse hotline for the ASPCA.  

In making his case against KFC, he cited information from the radical animal  rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PETA activists have demonstrated outside KFC suppliers with signs reading  "The Colonel's Secret Recipe: Live Scalding, Painful Debeaking, Crippled Chickens."

Yum! Brands vice president Jonathan Blum said PETA has unfairly singled out  KFC.

"We buy our chickens as do other companies from the same trusted brands  like Tyson and Perdue," Blum said.

"We have an independent panel of outside experts who set our high  standards.

They are the same standards that all our competitors use to insure  humane treatment of poultry."

The company uses about 16 suppliers with 52 facilities around the country.

PETA claims the 750 million chickens raised each year for KFC are "often   fully conscious when their throats are cut and when they are dumped into tanks  of scalding water to remove their feathers." The group also maintains that  arsenic used to kill intestinal parasites in chickens is harmful to  humans.

In September 2000, PETA backed off an 11-month campaign against McDonald's   after the company agreed to a number of reforms, including increasing living   space for chickens, meeting other standards of more-humane treatment and halting  purchases from suppliers that failed audits.

McDonald's also has agreed to study switching its chicken suppliers to  those practicing so-called "controlled-atmosphere killing." That involves using  a cocktail of nitrogen and argon mixed with carbon dioxide to ensure that chickens are dead before their throats are cut.

Blum said Yum! performs "announced and unannounced audits" of its suppliers and requires them to correct any deficiencies. He said "the jury is still out" on whether controlled-atmosphere killing is more humane.

Originally published on February 12, 2005

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Article Title: Rap against KFC grows


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