Who gives a cluck?

Paige Haker

Photo By Mark Lore

We received an e-mail a couple of weeks ago informing us that there was going to be a demonstration by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) in front of the Kentucky Fried Chicken on E. 20th Street. Sure enough, 15-year-old Paige Haker and about 10 others withstood the biting cold to give voice to our friend the chicken. Chico police officers stopped by briefly to make sure the demonstrators stayed out of the busy street. Otherwise, their peaceful protest was met with a few honking horns, a few thumbs ups and, ironically, people flipping them the bird.

What got you started in PETA?

I was at a concert two years ago and this band Goldfinger … they’re really good … they had a booth set up outside, and they were handing out stuff like this.

Are you a vegan or a vegetarian?

I’m a vegetarian. I eat dairy products and stuff, but I don’t eat meat.

How long have you been a vegetarian?

I’ve been on and off for a few years, but I’m full time now, since the beginning of the year.

So what has the response been?

It’s been pretty good so far. Some people stop and get information. We’ve only had one bad time.

What happened?

We were standing over by the entrance to the drive-thru, and this lady started yelling at us and told us that we needed to get an education and not worry about the chickens.

What’s the most disturbing part of the whole process?

They give their chickens so many antibiotics and drugs. If they didn’t have all those drugs, they wouldn’t be able to live. They’re just mean, and they shove a bunch of them in one little cage. And they cut off their beaks so they can’t eat and feed them through straws and cut off their feet. It’s kind of gross, if you think about it.

Have you ever eaten at a KFC before?

I use to when I was younger. I didn’t ever really eat the chicken. … I just kind of ate the side stuff. I haven’t eaten there in five years.

So you probably don’t eat any fast food…

Yeah, I eat French fries from McDonald’s.

What about the poor potatoes?

Well, the difference there is, potatoes don’t have feelings.