(Warning: This article contains a graphic description of methods PETA claims is used to kill chickens supplied to KFC
The animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), is seeking a permit to erect a fiberglass statue of a bloodied, bandaged and crippled chicken on the streets of Louisville, Kentucky, the headquarters of KFC (also known as Kentucky Fried Chicken), and its parent company, Yum Brands. PETA claims the statue is designed to draw attention to their campaign against cruelty in the raising and slaughtering of chickens for the company.
Last week, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal
, the city of Louisville deemed the most recent application "incomplete" because it does not include written permission of adjacent property owners. That condition for permit seekers was added when rules were drawn up after PETA applied for the permit in July and the city declared a 45 day moratorium on new permits to study the issue.
The statue PETA is proposing is a five and-a-half foot fiberglass bloodied and bandaged chicken on crutches with a base that reads, "KFC Cripples Chickens." The statue was designed and created by The New Yorker
cartoonist Harry Bliss.
PETA chicken campaign coordinator, Kristina Addington, told the Courier-Journal
that, "Louisville is the headquarters for KFC and we want to remind residents that KFC is in their own backyard." She goes on to claim that, "this is a corporation that allows chickens to have their throats cut open while fully conscious and allows chickens to be scalded alive."
The PETA's chicken campaign website, "kentuckyfriedcruelty.com
," graphically claims that,
"KFC suppliers cram birds into huge waste-filled factories, breed and drug them to grow so large that they can’t even walk, and often break their wings and legs. At slaughter, the birds’ throats are slit and they are dropped into tanks of scalding-hot water—often while they are still conscious. It would be illegal for KFC to abuse dogs, cats, pigs, or cows in these ways."
KFC spokeswoman Laurie Schalow countered PETA's claims and said that
the statue request is "yet another despicable publicity stunt that we hope the city will have the good sense to disapprove." PETA first applied to display the statue in July (PETA claims on it's blog, The PETA Files
, that it filed six different applications for six different areas of the city), only to have the city impose a 45 day moratorium on temporary structures on public rights-of-way.
Chad Carlton, a spokesman for Mayor Jerry Abramson, said the moratorium was necessary because the city had no regulations about temporary structures and needed to act after the city received a "flurry of requests"
after the city approved a permit for a 30 foot blow up monkey outside a Louisville hotel.
The new city rules require anyone requesting temporary structures in a right-of-way to first get written permission from adjacent property owners, specifically the owner "directly in line with the structure." Spokesman Carlton said
PETA's new permit application is "incomplete" because it does not include written permission from the adjacent property owners. He says the new rule was necessary to prevent "mischief" such as a property owner placing a sign in front of a competing business saying: Don't shop here."
PETA attorney Martine Bernstein wrote in a letter
to the city that the city's "refusal to issue a permit is a violation of (the U.S. Constitution's) First Amendment because it would give third parties improper veto power over the control of PETA's message."
The Courier-Journal also reported
that in March of this year, KFC agreed to sponsor the "filling of potholes" in the city for $60 per hole - up to $3,000 - and city workers would stencil the words "Refreshed by KFC" in chalk over top the new pavement. PETA countered the offer by doubling it - up to $6,000 - if the city would stencil a likeness of Colonel Sanders (the original founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken) with "devil horns" and the words "kentuckyfriedcruelty.com." The city said at that time that it would "pass" on PETA's offer.
On its company website
, KFC counters many of the claims by PETA in a "Animal Welfare Program" section
"PETA – a radical extremist group whose agenda is to promote a vegetarian lifestyle -- makes claims about KFC which are not true, and deliberately attempts to mislead consumers about KFC’s animal welfare standards. PETA supporters want a vegetarian world. There's nothing wrong with being a vegetarian, but we're proud to serve the world's most famous fried chicken and we support our customers’ preference to eat meat – a preference that represents the viewpoint of the majority of Americans."
PETA is well known for campaigns that many consider shocking and controversial. In 2003, the group was widely criticized for it's campaign
, "Holocaust on Your Plate," which compared the slaughtering of animals to the murder of 6 million Jews during World War II.