PETA protests at KFC
It’s a slow news day when three or four reporters show up to watch two people with a string of faux poultry protest in front of the Kentucky Fried Chicken. While I interview roving animal-rights activist Matt Prescott, a reporter from the Associated Press waits patiently for his turn. A photographer arrives minutes later. And as I walk away, a Channel 2 guy, camera in tow, head toward the action.
“We’re trying to show people the abuses of animals that occur prior to and during slaughter,” Prescott says. Prescott isn’t a Reno activist. He’s a youth outreach coordinator on the staff of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a Virginia-based organization. Prescott’s traveling the nation, staging protests in front of KFCs everywhere.
PETA launched the protests after spending two years negotiating with KFC’s parent company, Yum! Brands, about its inhumane slaughter methods. PETA’s demands: Replace “crude and ineffective” electric stunning and throat slitting with gas killing, phase out the forced rapid growth of chickens that causes metabolic disorders and lameness, add minimal enhancements to chicken habitats such as sheltered areas and perches, and “implement automated chicken-catching, a process that reduces the high incidence of bruising, broken bones and stress associated with catching birds by hand.”
Prescott is a vegan. While he talks to reporters, a truck drives by. A person leans out to cackle at the sign.
“I bet you get a lot of that,” I say.
He nods but adds that the protest has also earned a convert or two. A couple came by for lunch just as the protest started. After talking to Prescott, they left without buying any of the Colonel’s Original Recipe. The girl, Prescott said, indicated that she may never eat chicken again. And the guy said: “No more KFC for me.”