1. Since its entry into India in 1995,KFC has been facing protests by cultural and economic activists and farmers. What are the reasons for these protests and do you think these reasons are justified? Exaplain.
During the early 1990s, KFC set up their business at India and they were faced all kind of protests by cultural, economic activists and farmers (The Ecologist, 1995). On the year of 1995, KFC open the first outlet at Bangalore and KFC was among the first fast-food multinational to enter India. One of the case which KFC involved is the municipal food inspectors found that KFC’s “hot&spicy” seasoning contained nearly three times more mono sodium glutamate (MSG, popularly known as ajinomoto, a flavor enhancing ingredient) than allowed by the Indian Prevention of Food Adulteration Act,1954 (IPFAA) (Ray, Ashis, 1995). According to the IPFAA , fast food restaurants can only contain maximum 1 percent of MSG as a seasoning of the food. Therefore, the KFC’s chicken being sent for food inspectors’ examination, followed by laboratory tests and analysis. But after all the procedure, they found that KFC’s chicken had exceed the legal MSG limits which is contained 2.8 percent of MSG. Due to this issue, KFC being charged because of “adulterated, misbranded, and unfit for human consumption. (Ray, Ashis, 1995)
After the protests faced at Bangalore, Pepsi Co opened a second KFC outlet in Delhi, the national capital, in October 1995 (Delhi’s Fried Chicken Blues,1995). Within couple of weeks of launch, KFC in Delhi had to stop its business as health officials canceled its license on November 1995 due to coating mix imported from United States contained sodium aluminium phosphate(SAP), which was hazardous to human health. Meanwhile, KFC was able to proved that SAP was used in small quantities in the baking powder and was not harmful. And the KFC had won the case and resumed back its business.(Delhi’s Fried Chicken Blues,1995) After all the protests had been settle down, the activist from Delhi against taking up another issues about the hygiene conditions of the restaurant. Due to an inspection by food inspectors found flies buzzing around the kitchen and garbage cans just outside the restaurant premises. Because of the issue, the Delhi KFC outlet was closed within 23 days of reopening.
From the cultural and economic activists and farmers perspective, KFC will also bring numerous disadvantage towards them if KFC start up their business at India. Nationalists also feared a culture invasion; environmentalists and farmers felt grain consumption by cattle for meat production would be detrimental; and nutritionists highlighted the consumption of fast food will increase the rate of obesity, hypertension ,heart disease , and cancer. Therefore, they were protest the entry of KFC into their country and they also carry “boycott KFC” signs while protest.
KFC had experience different kind of issue raised up by the cultural and economic activists and farmers, there are some cases where the KFC should research about India culture before they enter. Most of the protests cases was because of the healthy issues brings to the people after consume the KFC’s chicken (Protest against KFC,2004) Sometimes, many businesses too focus on profit making and did not concern on the consumer’s healthy. Therefore, KFC have to follow the legal requirement of the food in order to sustain their business in India. On the others hand, most of the farmers protest is because they feared that the fast-food chain will affect its local agricultural environment (Narasimhan, Shakuntala,1996). All this is about ethical of business, KFC should not serve a food which is contained unhealthy ingredient and they must also concern more on the economy growth at India.
2. PETA has been protesting against KFC in India since the last 1990s. What are the reasons for PETA’s protests against KFC and how did KFC’s management react to them? Do you agree with PETA that KFC has been cruel toward the birds and hence it should leave India? Based on this case study, we found out that KFC in India faced severe protests by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights protection organization. The reason for PETA’s protest against KFC was primarily due to the inhumane treatment the chickens faced on KFC farms and released a video tape showing the ill-treatment of birds in KFC’s poultry farms. Pilgrim’s Pride (PP) is one of KFC’s award-winning supply operations and the second largest processor of chickens in the United States. PETA’s investigations in Pilgrim’s Pride poultry farm brought to light the inappropriate practices that prevailed in KFC’s supplier operations, Yamini Aparna K. Vivek Gupta (2004). In other word PETA found a video exposing KFC supplier abuse chickens by cruel trick and this immediately aroused public attention. In the 4 minute video released by PETA in regards to these allegations, viewers witnessed birds living in overcrowded, crammed warehouses with barely any space to move, vast amounts of chicken carcasses that had died from disease, dirty, injured chickens and the cruel actions towards the animals by the hands of the staff.
Besides that, the staff do anything to abuse the chicken, they often cut off their wings, slamming them to the wall, punched them as sandbags, kicked them as football. At slaughter, the chicken’ throats are slit and dropped into tanks of scalding-hot water while they are still conscious.(refer to reference 11) They abuse the chickens alive to death and then gave to outlet frying as delicious fried chicken serve all around the world. Though other fast food organizations such as McDonald’s and Burger King had already ‘upped’ their standards regarding the treatment of animals, KFC had yet to do so. In these factories and poultry farms, birds were kept in very unhygienic conditions and treated cruelly.
However, undeterred by the protests by PETA and other animal rights organizations, KFC planned a massive expansion program in India,Margaret Scheikowski (2009). According to ‘PETA’s Fact Sheet of KFC’s Cruelty’, there were six main points of suffering the chickens faced, Dan Mathews, PETA (July 12, 2011). These included; i. Having less than a normal sized piece of paper to live in -This is where the chickens are stuffed by tens of thousands into overcrowded sheds where they hardly find space to move freely. To save space and avoid chicken hurting each other, the sensitive chicken beaks are cut off with hot blade without giving any pain killers. Overcrowding and poor litter quality in the farms also caused painful ammonia burns on the chickens. The injured chickens received no treatment and had to bear the pain throughout their life.
ii. Suffering from crippled and deformed legs since birth and dying early from heart attacks as a result of poor breeding methods – Birds are fed genetically modified feed in order to accelerate their growth rate. As a result they suffer from ailments such as extreme obesity and fatty livers and kidneys, heart attacks and other problems.
iii. Being killed before reaching six weeks of age
-This is where the chickens are slaughtered before they are 6 weeks old. At the slaughter house, chickens are hung upside down and transferred through conveyor belts to the killing room fully conscious.
iv. Frustrated Workers
– Due to poor wages and working conditions, employees used the chickens as a means to vent frustrations and alleviate boredom. They twisted the bird’s heads off, spat tobacco into their eyes and mouths, spray-painted their faces, used them as footballs and squeezed their bodies so hard that the birds expelled feces.
v. Mistreatment by callous staff and;
vi. Receiving little to no veterinary care
KFC’s management in response to PETA’s protest was adding more outlets and the announcement of major developments to the program. They also planned to open more stores in prime locations such as shopping malls in cosmopolitan areas. Vegetarian dishes were also implemented into the menu to cater and attract the mass vegetarian population. However, PETA India wrote a letter to the Managing Director of Tricon Restaurant International, the parent company of KFC, asking them to close their sole KFC outlet in India. But their responses are got no reply. So that, PETA activists decided to protest against KFC by carrying crippled chicken, which represented the birds suffering in the KFC’s farms. PETA claimed that after two years of intensive campaigning to increase animal welfare standards in poultry farms. After analyzing the case study and PETA’s fact sheet, it is clear that KFC are cruel towards their birds and hence should leave India. Moreover, as KFC is such a powerful multinational company and with support from the director of marketing of Yum! Restaurants International who assured KFC followed the welfare guidelines and valued Indian law, this outcome was highly unlikely.
3. What is the importance of ethics in doing business? Do you think in the face of fierce competition, business organizations are justified not to support ethical values at the cost of making profits? Why or why not? Justify your answer giving examples. There is no doubt that business ethics plays a more and more important role in modern economy. Ethics can be associated with being fair, honest, and moral and being ‘the right thing to do’. There are many essential benefits to those businesses known for good ethical values (Steven Symes, July 2014). One of the responsibilities of an organization is to make sure that all their actions to the ethical standards provided by the law, the KFC need to follow the rule and regulation at the country. Other than strategy for marketing and management, businesses have considered other elements that play significant roles towards success. One of these important elements is ethics. These organizations tend to be those that attain higher quality staff, staff turnover is low, better image, attract and maintain new and existing consumers and have a greater competitive advantage. Though many businesses try and aim to be both ethical and successful, countless believe it to get in the way of making a profit (VoiceLee1 , October 2013).
Depending on which country and state you are in can determine the amount of trouble a company may face with their unethical behavior. In extreme cases this may lead to the law being involved which principally takes profits away from businesses and to operate in certain markets, Consumer international (2008). Based on the case study of KFC in India, being a large international company immediately draws attention. Even though domestic businesses in India may not follow the ‘right’ ethical procedures, KFC is automatically under the spotlight as locals expect them to follow international standards. In the face of fierce competition, business organizations should have support ethical values whether they believe it will affect their profits or not. For any organization, ‘the customer is always right’ and are one of the most important factor in keeping the business alive as this is where profits are made.
As customers have ethics, if they are not happy, no profits. Laura Costa, Ph.D. (December, 2012) It is highly essential for business organizations to understand the importance of ethics in today’s world. In order to achieve this, large international companies such as KFC who are expanding their businesses in less develop countries such as India, need to gain understanding of the country culture, regulatory and ecological issues. So that, KFC should work together and partner up with local farmers as well as with their consumers to ensure them they have quality products. Another strategy may also be to implement a farm level guideline and analysis reports for their stakeholders regarding poultry care and handling. Ronald D Francis&Mukti Mishra(2014),pg 56-60.
Finally, we can understand from the case that every business organization should understand the importance of ethics by understanding the culture, regulatory and ecological issues in different countries. KFC should implement a farm level guideline & audit program – a program which is industry leading in the areas of poultry care and handling, mainly for their supplier in the broiler industry. Therefore the company need some common principles to guide the behaviors. It is much easier for a company with good moral conducts to build its reputation and win respect from all aspects of a society. KFC has been already gained the reputation of a fast food that continuously provides greasy unhealthy food, so it needs to do something about and shift its positive image back.
1. Yamini Aparna K. Vivek Gupta(2004) KFC in India: Ethical Issues [Online] Available from: http://www.asiacase.com/ecatalog/NO_FILTERS/page-CROSSMGT-649128.html[Accessed :17th July 2014] 2. Margaret Scheikowski (2009) Family sues KFC over “food Poisoning”. [Online] Available from: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/845258/kfc-sued-over-salmonella-poisoning[Accessed :17th July 2014] 3. Dan Mathews ,PETA(July 12, 2011). KFC in India Available from: http://www.kentuckyfriedcruelty.com/index.asp[Accessed :18th July 2014] 4. Schreiner, Bruce (23 July 2005). “KFC still guards Colonel’s secret”. Associated Press. Retrieved 19 September 2013. Available from: http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/072305/bus_19314459.shtml[Accessed :19th July 2014] 5. VoiceLee1 , October 2013’KFC in India Case Study Assignment (Ethical Issue) Available from: http://www.studymode.com/essays/Kfc-In-India-Case-Study-Assignment-39922528.html[Accessed :19th July 2014] 6. Consumer international (2008) WCRD 2008 [Online] Available from: http: //www.consumersinternational.org/Templates/Internal.asp?NodeID= 97050 &int1stParentNodeID=89647&int2ndParentNodeID=95043[Accessed :19th July 2014]
7. Laura Costa, Ph.D. (December,2012) Protect You from Harmful Chemicals in Cosmetics and Household Products. [Online] Available from: http://loveyourbody.nowfoundation.org/harmful_chemicals.html[Accessed :20th July 2014] 8. KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN (KFC) IN INDIA(No date) [Online] Available fromhttp://www.freeessays123.com/essay21631/kentuckyfriedchickenkfcinindia.html[Accessed :20th July 2014] 9. Ronald D Francis&Mukti Mishra(2014),pg 56-60” Business Ethical” Available from: http://books.google.com.my/books?id=xV8l8EUCOjQC&pg=PA176&lpg=PA176&dq=www.icmrindia.org/casestudies/…/business%2520ethics/BECG044.+HTML&source=bl&ots=wKboQnsm4A&sig=4Cd0mvIFlBRz-LMhNMOzZVsx1L8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=jO7LU8z7HIq9ugTB0ILACw&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=www.icmrindia.org%2Fcasestudies%2F…%2Fbusiness%2520ethics%2FBECG044.%20HTML&f=false[Accessed :20th July 2014]
10. Steven Symes (July 2014), ‘Importance of Ethical Conduct in a Business. Available from: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-ethical-conduct-business-25163.html[Accessed :20th July 2014]
11. video released by PETA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXKExmm_Mk0 or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zLZrAQ8JIM or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5eMQ-3Drmw
12. Ray, Ashis. ” KFC Takes On India over MSG,” www.cnn.com, September 21, 1995
13. “Delhi’s Fried Chicken Blues,” www.theasiaweek.com, November 24, 1995
14. “Kentucky Fried Chicken Protest in India.” The Ecologist, November/ December 1995
15. Narasimhan, Shakuntala. “Tandoori vs Kentucky Fried.” Multinational Monitor, January/ February 1996 16. “Protest against KFC,” www.hindu.com, February 18, 2004