According to The Guardian, the US-owned fried chicken brand is the first fast food chain in the UK to sign up to the initiative, which already has the support of 30 companies in Europe including Waitrose and M&S.
In supporting the ECC, KFC has pledged to work with suppliers to guarantee better welfare standards for its broiler chickens are implemented by 2026.
This includes ensuring they have more space in barns to walk around, and that improved enrichment provisions such as perches and pecking objects are provided.
According to animal welfare organisation Compassion in World Farming, KFC’s decision will impact the lives of 72 million chickens.
“Our business depends on the health, sustainability and reputation of chicken farming, and our customers care about improving the lives of the chicken we buy,” says Paula MacKenzie, CEO of KFC UK & Ireland.
“That’s why we’re adding our voice to the campaign and encourage others to do the same – because to inspire real change and provoke meaningful action, we need the industry to move with us.”
The news has been welcomed by World Animal Protection, which launched its Change for Chicken campaign in 2016 and a year later began working with KFC in the UK and Europe on improving the welfare of the chickens on farms that supply its restaurants.
“This is fantastic news for many millions of chickens. It’s an important first step towards improving the welfare of chickens globally. We hope other regions and countries where KFC operates will follow suit as quickly as possible," says farming campaigns manager Ian Woodhurst.
The move is one of a number of recent forward-thinking decisions to be made by KFC in the last year or so.
Last month the chain trialled a new vegan burger in select restaurants in London, Bristol and Birmingham, which comprised a bespoke Quorn fillet with KFC’s famous ‘original recipe’ coating.
Meanwhile, in May last year, it pledged to reduce the number of calories per serving in its meals by 20% by 2025.