Written by PETA
Just as David Novak, CEO of KFC's parent company, Yum!, stepped up to address a crowd of Louisville business owners yesterday, two animal rights activists entered the stage, commandeered the mic, and told the assembled captains of Kentucky industry that "David Novak tortures animals," a reference to the millions of chickens who have their wings and legs broken in shackles and transport crates and are scalded alive (among other abuses) by KFC suppliers because KFC won't take any action to stop it.
The women were removed by security, but their words had already caught the attention of reporters and was front-page news on the Louisville Courier-Journal's Web site.
Consummate "suit" that he is, Novak proceeded by leading the crowd in the "Yum! cheer" (which we assume is not to be confused with the Bronx cheer that KFC so richly deserves).
Novak also—presumably with a straight face—told the crowd that he rewards outstanding employees with rubber chickens. I'm not making that up. "It does not take a lot of money to give away a rubber chicken," he said. It wouldn't take a lot of money for KFC to implement the minimal animal welfare standards we've asked for, but that's not of any interest to him. Who came up with this business model—Stalin?
We have some lovely shots of PETA protesters outside the event. Check it:
Written by Alisa Mullins
After Pilgrim's Pride announced that it will be closing its slaughterhouse in Farmerville, Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal immediately put together an emergency task force to strategize a way to stop the plant from closing. We realize that in this unstable economy, losing 1,300 jobs can definitely be scary, so PETA has written to Gov. Jindal with an offer: We'd like to purchase the slaughterhouse and create a chicken empathy museum, which would create jobs and increase tourism in Louisiana.
Of course, the museum would also promote compassion for animals and educate people about the suffering endured by the 9 billion chickens who are killed for food every year. What better job is there for a former factory-farm worker than to educate others about how wonderful chickens really are?
Most people don't realize that chickens are sensitive animals who are as intelligent as cats, dogs, and even primates. Probably the coolest thing that you didn't know (but would if you visited our proposed museum) is that mother hens actually cluck to their unborn chicks, who chirp back to their mothers and to one another from within their shells!
Oh, and did I mention that the museum would also include a fancy restaurant with an array of delicious vegetarian options and would offer free plush chickens to all kids under 12? Post a comment to let Gov. Jindal know that you'll be booking your ticket to Farmerville as soon as the museum is up and running.
Written by Liz Graffeo
It should be no surprise to regular readers of this blog that we keep an eye on happenings at KFC, so this caught our eye: According to news reports, the manager of a KFC in Manchester, New Hampshire, received a hoax phone call from someone who claimed to be from KFC's corporate offices and told her to test the fire-suppression system. When she did so, she and two staffers preparing sandwiches were coated with a chemical powder that is a respiratory irritant. Authorities were summoned, who took the unfortunate trio to the hospital for decontamination.
Just a couple of observations:
Written by Jeff Mackey
It's with deep regret and sadness that we announce the passing of Paul Harvey—a man who for decades used his voice to speak up against the injustices suffered by animals.
As America's most listened-to radio personality, Mr. Harvey formed a connection with his audience like none other. His quirky delivery style and fascinating tidbits drew in a loyal audience of more than 25 million listeners.
Mr. Harvey used his popular radio show to call attention to cruelty to animals on numerous occasions, earning him a PETA Humanitarian Award and my unending admiration. Mr. Harvey often told his listeners of the cruelty, redundancy, and worthlessness of animal experiments and spoke out forcefully in support of animal rights activists. Fearlessly opinionated, he criticized the Boy Scouts and the military for killing animals in survival exercises and educated public about the cruelty inherent in circuses.
One of our fondest memories is the day he denounced the National Institutes of Health for funding a researcher who gave baboons hallucinogenic drugs and shocked them until they went into convulsions, resulting in brain damage. His determination to open his listeners' eyes to the gut-wrenching facts about testing on animals changed millions of minds and saved countless animals' lives.
While Mr. Harvey's powerful voice is now silent, the people he touched will continue to spread his message of compassion for animals.
Written by Kathy Guillermo
As the Midwest's snowy winter drags on, PETA beauties have been heating things up. They recently flocked to a KFC in Champaign, Illinois, to tell customers the "naked" truth about how cold-hearted KFC abuses chickens. After hearing the gruesome details, I think it's safe to say that many would-be customers were seriously thinking about flying north to one of the KFCs in Canada that sell the delicious faux chicken sandwich.
Check out these pictures of the demonstration and tell us what you think:
I travel a lot for work, and between going to meetings, catching flights, and trying to get to hotels at a reasonable hour, I'm always on the lookout for a quick bite to eat. Quiznos has saved me many a time with its delicious toasted veggie sandwiches—but I've been troubled by its animal welfare record.
Well, Quiznos has just taken its first major step. We've been working quietly with the company for about a year, talking about the importance of animal welfare reforms to improve the lives and deaths of the animals killed for its products. Now, Quiznos has officially moved forward. It will do the following:
Quiznos has also removed the eggs entirely from three of its four cookies. (Unfortunately, they still aren't vegan, but this will still prevent thousands of hours of suffering for laying hens).
These reforms mark the first steps forward for Quiznos, and we wish those companies resisting change would at least make similar moves (come on Subway, what are you waiting for?). That said, not eating animals (or their eggs or milk) is still the best way to help them. So while it is terrific that pigs, chickens, and turkeys will now suffer less for some of Quiznos' products, I'll stick with those veggie subs.
Written by Matt Prescott
Picture this: You're cruising down the highway when you catch a glimpse of a truck in your rearview mirror. Your eyes focus on the white bits of feathers or maybe the pink skin visible through the openings in the side, and suddenly you're no longer in a good mood.
We've all seen those transport trucks whiz by us with little regard for the safety of the animals jostled about inside, often struggling to stay on their feet on the slippery floors. It's horrible enough that these animals are headed for the slaughterhouse, but many people don't realize that millions of animals each year die when they are trampled or succumb to untreated illnesses before they even reach that awful destination.
The Vancouver Sun deserves a hundred thousand well-deserved props for running an excellent front-page article about animal transport fatalities. According to the article, "up to three million farm animals are found dead each year" inside transport trucks when they arrive at Canadian slaughterhouses. And there's more: "more than 11 million farm animals are declared unfit for human consumption after arriving diseased or injured …." And that's just in Canada—the issue is just as serious in the U.S. These animals are just more senseless victims of animal agriculture, but to the industry, their purposeless deaths are simply another cost of doing business.
The numbers are heartbreaking, but they're no surprise when you factor in the abuse these animals face: Workers routinely poke pigs with electric prods and beat them—sometimes on the snout with baseball bats, breaking their noses. Birds are often thrown into the holding space, resulting in broken bones and wings. Animals are piled on top of each other with no room to turn around, and no food or water is given to them during transport. The sheer number of animals crammed into the cargo containers can cause some to suffocate, especially in the heat. During the summer months, temperatures inside the metal fixtures are sweltering, and during the winter months, the animals have almost no protection from the wind, ice, and snow. Many pigs actually freeze to the sides of the trucks in winter.
Truck drivers can be reckless and absentminded, putting both the animals and humans in danger. Transport truck accidents like this one are common. If an animal is lucky, he or she might escape injury and be able to flee and avoid the slaughterhouse forever, but most are not so fortunate. These accidents are horrifying for animals who are injured—often they are simply reloaded onto another truck to continue the journey to the slaughterhouse.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
Every visit to New York City causes me to reflect upon the misery that befalls those poor old racetrack castoffs, Amish cart-pullers, and other worn-down horses who end up between the shafts of a heavy carriage, pulling loads of tourists—and some uncaring driver—through the dirty, noisy streets of New York City in all weather. Seeing them out there in the winter is particularly upsetting: A few weeks back, I saw one horse still lumbering along in traffic, head down, at 9:30 p.m.
Even when they aren't working, horses need lots of water, yet the "carriage" horses' water troughs are often bone dry. People report seeing the horses standing there, unbending in their traces and unseeing in their blinders, unable to take a drop of water. And, when, late at night, they finally end up at their "stables"—which are actually decrepit fire-trap walk-ups—they cannot even take their weight off their aching feet: The "stalls" are boxes or bars that fit just around their bodies, like sow stalls on factory farms.
Oh, there's so much more that stinks for these poor horses, including the traffic accidents that spook, hurt, and kill them. (I've seen a driver, obviously anxious to go home to his comfortable house, whip and race his horse, chariot-style, pounding along the road; this must have added to the horse's pain.) PETA and local concerned citizens are working hard to make this business go away. We want to see it switch to something humane—perhaps to a new, environmentally friendly tourist vehicle that doesn't bleed, ache, and die. It may take another year of hard work, but what can we do in the meantime, other than tell people never to ride in the carriages?
Perhaps you'd like to contact the ASPCA—which is charged with enforcing the anti-cruelty code and regulations on horse-drawn carriages—with your thoughts and questions. Please share with us the answers you receive. The horses can't ask why someone doesn't order their owners to allow them to lie down at night, for example, but we can. And, in my opinion, local law enforcement can compel the owners to let them.
Written by Ingrid Newkirk
As if we didn't have enough to worry about during the holiday travel season, now there's a new road hazard: deadly bacteria. And it comes to you courtesy of your pals in the chicken industry.
In case you don't happen to be a regular reader of the Journal of Infection and Public Health, a recent study found that driving behind trucks taking chickens to slaughter could expose the car's occupants to the aforementioned deadly bacteria. And not just any bacteria. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
You see, chickens (like other animals raised and killed for food) spend their short lives living in filth. By which I mean they stand around in sh—um, sheds. Filled with their own feces. This makes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. And to keep the chickens from dying horribly from infections before they can be killed horribly at the slaughterhouse, the poor birds are pumped full of antibiotics, giving rise to—you guessed it!—bacteria that can't be killed by antibiotics.
OK, so the poor chickens are crammed into open crates that are loaded onto a flatbed truck. The wind blows over them (half-freezing them in winter) and also carrying the germ-laden feces into the air. And if you're traveling behind the truck … well, you do the math.
Now, of course, the best way to prevent this health hazard would be to stop using chickens for food—something you can help along by going vegetarian. But, so long as people continue to eat birds, we think they should be aware of the risks. Since the study was done in the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia region, we're urging officials in those states to post signs on roads and trucks to warn motorists of the dangers.
Still, even if you live in the balmier parts of the world, you might want to drive with your windows up and no outside air flow until all this, uh … blows over.
As I'm sure you are already aware, today is World Farm Animals Day! It's a good time for all of us to remember the pain that many farmed animals go through every day for human consumption, but it's also a good time to remember the joy that animals bring to our lives. In light of this holiday, we are hosting Kentucky Fried Cruelty demonstrations all over the country to encourage people to think about how their meal choices affect the environment—and the pain that meat-based diets inflict on farmed animals.
We're hoping that the demos today will really make people think, but it's not the first time we've donned chicken suits and sat in scalding tanks to make the public aware that KFC tortures birds and that chickens are intelligent, wonderful animals who feel pain and fear for their lives just like dogs and cats.
Please check out our slideshow of KFC demos from around the world and leave a comment to tell us which is your favorite picture! If you haven't yet, please order a copy of our "Vegetarian Starter Kit." World Farm Animals Day is the best time to take that first step!
Written by Christine Doré
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.