UK
18/03/2015 08:25 GMT | Updated 23/05/2016 13:59 BST

BBC KFC Documentary 'Billion Dollar Chicken Shop' Reveals The Life Of Fast Food Birds

A new documentary about fast food giant KFC is set to show the reality of conditions for the millions of chickens its customers eat every year.

In the documentary Billion Dollar Chicken Shop, which begins on BBC One tonight, cameras show farms where chickens thousands of chickens are crammed into sheds where all they can do is eat and drink until they reach the correct weight and are killed.

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A chicken farm featured in the documentary

There are tens of thousands of chickens in the largely windowless sheds at any on time and they typically live just 35 days before they are killed.

Around 23 million chickens are kept and killed this way a year, it has been claimed.

According to The Daily Mail, a farmer called Andrew, featured in the programme, says: "As you can see, they’ve got beautifully clean feet and that is a good sign that these birds are healthy and they’ve been grown on good litter.

"You can see this is a good, healthy chicken. I can’t think there’s anything better than being sat in a chicken farm looking at chickens. You can see for yourself, they look absolutely fantastic."

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Boy Gets Served Deep-Fried Towel At KFC

He adds: "They probably have a short life but they have a very good life."

But Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, told the paper: "These birds have no meaningful life. They endure a wretched existence in giant windowless sheds stinking with ammonia.

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"A very large number die from starvation or dehydration. About 900 million of these birds are produced [in the country] each year about 30 million-plus die in the sheds."

A KFC spokesman also told HuffPost UK: "Animal welfare is essential for high quality food so we only use trusted and well-established suppliers which meet or exceed UK and EU welfare requirements.

"Typically only around 10% of chickens in barns are supplied to KFC with the majority of the remainder going to major UK supermarkets.

"KFC was the first quick service restaurant to gain Red Tractor farm assured certification and we have in place our own robust standard, which is independently audited by third parties."

The documentary, produced by Wild Pictures, is made up of three episodes.

It follows employees, from counter staff and to the boardroom, and speaks to people who fight the prospect of a new KFC opening near their home.

"This rich character-driven, fast-moving series takes viewers into the heart of the company and into the hearts of its loyal and disloyal customers and reveals why we have become addicted to fried chicken and chips," a promo for the documentary says.

"Valued at £4 billion a year, the fast food industry is big business and even bigger controversy. With its globally recognised but fiercely protected recipe for fried chicken, KFC is one of the brands that has most divided public opinion. Love it or hate it, the fact is that not much is known about what goes on behind the scenes."