Written by PETA
Thanks to a few compassionate Kentucky residents, including the insuppressible Lindsay Rajt, who works on our KFC Campaign out of Louisville, David Novak, the CEO of KFC's parent company, got more than he bargained for out of an evening at a local restaurant on Friday night. Lindsay and company were in the midst of a well-attended KFC protest that was drawing a lot of attention in downtown Louisville when a passerby shouted out that Novak was eating at Seviche restaurant just down the street. Lindsay and a fellow activist got into their vehicle (which, by a stroke of good fortune, happened to be a large black truck with a video screen set to play images of chickens suffering live scalding, debeaking, and other abuses) and circled the restaurant until the entire wait-staff came out to gawk. Despite a slightly unpleasant incident in which the chef thought a good way of handling the situation would be to spit in people's faces, the protest was a big success. At the very least, it probably put David Novak off his dinner.
In case you didn’t catch the Wall Street Journal article this morning, I wanted to tell you about a new approach we’re taking in our KFC Campaign.
Most people don’t know this, but KFC’s top executives like to boast about being good Christians. They donate large sums of money to a prominent evangelical Christian church, which one of them ran before joining KFC in 2003. That’s all well and good of course, but actions speak much louder than words, and the reality here is that the way the 850 million chickens killed each year for KFC are abused is a complete mockery of basic Christian values. It is completely unfathomable to me for people who claim such virtue to turn a blind eye to the extreme suffering that they have the power to stop.
My question to them is this: What would Jesus think of the fact that you’re not willing to even lift a finger to help the 850 million chickens killed for your restaurants, even though it is entirely within your power to do so? I’m not trying to be some Biblical scholar here, but honestly, it is just plain evil to continue to cause massive suffering when there are simple changes that can be made, and have been made by other fast food joints.
Well, if they’re not willing to listen to their own animal welfare advisors and the thousands of outraged people all over the world, maybe they’ll listen to the most powerful and influential religious figure in the world, Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Catholic church. In case you haven’t seen it, here is a famous quote from Pope Benedict, "Animals, too, are God's creatures. ... Degrading them to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible." Sums it up pretty nicely I think.
Anyway, we’ve made leaflets with the Pope’s picture and quote, along with all the gory details of what KFC does to chickens, and we’ll be distributing them at KFCs worldwide. If you attend church, you can order a batch to share with your congregation.
Let’s hope this at least nudges KFC in the right direction . . .
My friend Lindsay, who's on tour at the moment exposing some of the sordid truths about KFC, just sent me some pics of a little street theater she did in Memphis to turn the tables on Colonel Sanders. Lindsay is actually extremely good at just explaining the issue to people when the subject of KFC comes up, but if the opportunity arises, she likes to get downright elaborate. Check it:
Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Really rolls off the tongue. I think it has something to do with alliteration. Anyway, apparently Mayor Sean Ford, who rules over the Denver suburb of Commerce City with a firm but benevolent hand, has pooh-poohed his citizens' attempt to expand the symbolic reach of their eager little town by changing its name to something with a little bit more punch. Well, since we here at PETA are always inspired by stories of communities working together to make their little corner of the world a better place—and, to be totally straight with you here, because we're deadly serious about letting as many people as possible know exactly what KFC does to the hundreds of millions of chickens it kills every year—we've taken up their cause and put together a little petition to ask Mayor Ford to change his mind and change his city's name … to KentuckyFriedCruelty.com, Colorado. It really does have a certain je ne sais quoi, doesn't it? You can read our letter to the mayor here and sign the petition here.
Remember this great video about teens going vegetarian from a month or so ago? Well, it gets better. My friend Jannette is PETA’s Director of Special Gifts and she leads a glamorous life wining and dining with various dignitaries and celebrities. The other day, her glitterati lifestyle landed her in the company of none other than former Grateful Dead and now Rat Dog guitarist Bob Weir and his family.
It turns out that Bob has an amazingly cool daughter named Monet, who has been veg all her life and LOVES Ingrid Newkirk’s new kids’ book. And Bob even donated one of his guitars to auction off for PETA last year. Could this family be any cooler?
As you know, I don’t lead nearly as glam a life as Jannette and unfortunately my family isn’t half as cool as the Weirs, but nonetheless Jannette’s e-mail inspired me. I'm keeping some copies of Ingrid's new book for all the young 'uns in my family. I can't wait to hear what they think.
If you've never been implicated in a preposterous conspiracy theory, I can highly recommend the experience. It's a roller-coaster ride of emotions from shocked to flattered to downright amused. This is especially true when the person responsible for the conspiracy theory is a high-ranking government official, as we discovered last week when we were tipped off to an alleged claim by U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao that PETA's Kentucky Fried Cruelty Campaign is not what it seems—that it is (wait for it) a cleverly disguised initiative designed to help labor organizations pass bills that will assist in unionizing workers.
In response to Chao's statement, which she evidently made while speaking at one of Grover Norquist’s “Leave Us Alone” meetings, we've sent her a little letter to clear things up and to ask for her support in the campaign. Just so that this point is crystal clear—PETA's campaign against KFC is single-mindedly focused on that company's treatment of chickens (which, by the way, is appalling). On account of we're an animal rights organization. I.e., an organization that concerns itself with the treatment of animals. Like chickens, for instance. Which is why we have a campaign against a chicken chain. I do hope that makes sense to everyone. Anyway, here's the letter:
Do you really need a letter from PETA and an official ban from your school administration to figure out what's wrong with throwing live chickens onto a basketball court during a game? In the case of the moronic Kansas State fans who did exactly that during a game against rivals KU, the answer, of course, is yes, and despite my tone of outraged disbelief, I can't honestly say I'm all that surprised. Especially given the attitude of KU Coach Bill Self, whose reaction to watching animal abuse take place in front of him was that he was glad he didn’t get hit by a chicken himself:
"My first year here one of them hit me. I'm glad we were on the other side of the court this year. It didn't upset me. That's tradition here that's gone on many years, I guess."
The good news is that, after receiving a letter from PETA, Kansas State has banned this tradition, and the story has received a lot of positive pickup in sports press. But seriously, how embarrassing is it to attend a school where your handbook has to have a whole section devoted to explaining why you shouldn't throw chickens at people?
This is an old video we made a while back to talk about why PETA has occasionally resorted to some more colorful tactics like naked protests to get our point across. It must have been put together in the early days of Internet video, when people had the attention span to get all the way through a 7-minute piece, but I highly recommend sticking around through the first 3 and a half minutes to watch George W. Bush reacting to a PETA manure dump a little while before he was elected President. It's seriously priceless.
Her name is Casey Redd, and she just sent in the latest brilliant addition to our Burberry campaign materials. PETA's Art Department does a fantastic job, but this may very well be my favorite anti-fur ad ever. Here's 10-year-old Casey with the ad she made:
I've been at PETA long enough to know that there are a whole lot of different ways to make a naked ad, and I'm always impressed with the way our Art Department manages to capture the particular style of the celebrity who's posing for the ad without losing sight of the message. Over the years, PETA's Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur ad series has ranged from risqué to cute to downright scary.
The latest ad in the series, starring hipster legends Mates of State, is no exception. If you've read any reviews of Mates of State albums, you'll know that music writers find it impossible to talk about their work without first mentioning how much the duo love each other. I've been a fan of Mates of State for five or six years now—I love their music, and I've also always been fascinated by how into each other they seem to be. I think their new anti-fur ad for PETA does a great job of getting that across. Here's the new ad, plus a lovely little interview they did for us about their feelings on fur.
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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.