An animal welfare group is to launch a campaign against US fastfood chain Kentucky Fried Chicken.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) claims that KFC is guilty of cruelty to the chickens that it rears.

PETA has accused the fastfood chain of using what it calls "crude and ineffective" methods of killing birds such as electric stunning and throat slitting. The animal rights group is calling for the use of gas to knock out the birds before they are slaughtered.

The group also wants an increase in the allotted space for each bird as well as minimal enhancements to the chickens' living conditions.

KFC has denied any improper treatment of its animals, saying: "KFC is committed to the ... humane treatment of chickens and we require all of our suppliers to follow welfare guidelines developed by us with leading experts on our Animal Welfare Advisory Council.

"Our suppliers are receiving unannounced audits at their poultry facilities throughout the year to ensure strict compliance with our guidelines. Failure to comply will result in termination of our supplier agreement, if remedial action is not taken," the chain was quoted as saying by thisislondon.co.uk.