Yesterday afternoon, with rush hour looming, a group of determined activists with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
gathered atop the I-5 overpass at Northeast Alberta Street to encourage drivers to boycott Kentucky Fried Chicken
. The group of about 10 enthusiastic volunteers waved signs reading “Broken wings and legs” with gruesome photos portraying the alleged conditions of many KFC supplier farms. They also held a 12-foot long banner over the overpass railing with a picture of an abused chicken and the words “Boycott KFC Cruelty.” Two women also dressed up in life-size chicken costumes to urge drivers to support their cause.
Tuesday's rally was in response to the growing concern over KFC chicken farm conditions and the undercover reports
that have reported inhumane practices such as throwing the birds in scalding water while they were still alive, and breaking their wings and legs to make them fit into the transportation carriers.
Recently, KFC Canada, which is owned by a different company than the U.S. chain, pledged to change its methods and committed to more humane animal welfare practices that fall under the Animal Care Standards Program. KFC Canada also says it will begin to phase out suppliers that do not follow these standards. According to the corporate website, KFC U.S. (owned by Yum Brands
, whose fast-food holdings also include Long John Silver's, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) is waiting to see if these new regulations have any “positive benefit on the humane treatment of poultry” and is still stating its dedication to maintaining “strict standards for all suppliers and the commitment to the humane treatment of poultry.”
According to Nicole Matthews, Activist Liaison for the Vegan Department of PETA, several of KFC U.S.' own animal welfare advisors recently resigned out of frustration that their suggestions were not being taken into account. “We're only asking KFC to follow their advice,” Matthews said.
She explained that the PETA activists usually protest outside of KFC stores in order to reach customers before they enter, but they chose to do a freeway banner-drop in order to reach more people in a highly visible area. “We know that here in Portland, if we keep encouraging people, they will continue to withdraw their support of KFC,” Matthews said.
Recently, several KFC restaurants targeted by PETA activists have clodes, including one at Northeast 7th Avenue and Weidler Street. With requests for more humane treatment for chickens and cholesterol-free, vegan options, PETA hopes KFC U.S. will listen to its customers and change its business practices.
More photos from the protest: