NEW YORK - An investigator for an animal rights group captured video showing chickens being kicked, stomped and thrown against a wall by workers at a supplier for Kentucky Fried Chicken, which has been under pressure since last year over the treatment of animals.
Officials from Yum! Brands Inc., which owns the fast-food chain, saw the video Monday. Kentucky Fried Chicken "will require that the employee or employees responsible will be terminated," KFC spokeswoman Bonnie Warchauer told The New York Times for a story in Tuesday editions.
Further violations at the plant will "result in termination of our relationship," Warchauer said.
The footage was secretly taken at the Pilgrim's Pride plant in Moorefield, W.Va., by an investigator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals who worked there from October to May.
A Pilgrim's Pride spokesman said that in light of the video, the company would reopen an investigation into earlier claims of cruelty at the plant.
In a July 22-dated letter to the plant, copied to Yum! Brands and forwarded to The Associated Press, PETA says its investigator also obtained eyewitness testimony about employees "ripping birds' beaks off, spray painting their faces, twisting their heads off, spitting tobacco into their mouths and eyes, and breaking them in half - all while the birds are still alive."
PETA said it planned to ask West Virginia authorities to prosecute plant employees and managers under state animal-cruelty laws. The PETA investigator, who did not reveal his identity because he still does undercover work for the group, said he would testify if prosecution went forward.
PETA has been pressuring KFC since last year, when it sued the company and called for a boycott, demanding that KFC require suppliers to treat animals more humanely. The group has recently won similar concessions from other major fast-food chains, including McDonald's and Burger King.
© Copyright 2004 Associated Press