On November 5, 2005, a small group of animal rights activists demonstrated in front of the KFC on Mission St., a busy road which is also Highway 1 in Santa Cruz. The number of customers in the restaurant quickly dwindled and passing motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, KFC customers and an employee that encountered the protesters were either very supportive of the demonstration or willing to listen to and learn from the protesters.
I spoke with one activist to find out why he protesting in front of KFC. He spoke about respect and equal rights for all animals and the need for people to adapt a vegetarian diet.
Monthly demonstrations outside the KFC on Mission St. – Highway 1 – have been organized by The Progressive Animal Rights Alliance of Santa Cruz.
The Progressive Animal Rights Alliance of Santa Cruz works to reduce suffering among both human and non-human animals. The primary goal is to educate people about the cruelty inherent in the many commonly-accepted ways animals are exploited and abused in our society.
You can learn more by visiting the Santa Cruz Animal Rights website.
These demonstrations are a part of an ongoing global campaign. From April 2001 until January 2003, PETA attempted to work with KFC to address chicken welfare. KFC pledged to “raise the bar” on chicken welfare and hired four of PETA’s five suggested animal welfare scientists as advisers. However, as of January 2003, and after multiple urgent letters from PETA demanding some positive action, KFC had still done nothing whatsoever to improve life for even a single one of the 850 million animals it slaughters annually. On January 6, 2003, PETA called for an international boycott of KFC.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, In Defense of Animals and The Progressive Animal Rights Alliance of Santa Cruz are asking KFC to eliminate the worst abuses that chickens suffer on the factory farms and in the slaughterhouses of its suppliers, including live scalding, life-long crippling, and painful debeaking. The more than 850 million chickens killed each year for KFC are tortured in ways that would result in felony cruelty-to-animals charges if cats or dogs were the victims, but KFC still refuses to make changes. As the leader in the chicken industry, KFC has a responsibility to ensure that the chickens raised for its buckets are protected from the worst cruelties.
You can also find more Santa Cruz and bay area coverage of KFC demonstrations on Indybay.org.
Here are some notes from Portland Indymedia:
“Thousands of chickens are tortured by the KFC supplier as revealed in an investigation into a KFC supplying slaughterhouse in Moorefield, West Virginia where workers were caught on video stomping on chickens, kicking them and violently slamming them against floors and walls. Workers also ripped the animals’ beaks off, twisted their heads off, spat tobacco into their eyes and mouths, spray-painted their faces- all while chickens were still alive. Even though 10 billion birds are killed each year by the meat and egg industries, these animals are not protected by a single federal animal welfare law.”
“Another point to consider is the overuse of antibiotics and antivirals at factory farms that supply fast food outlets like KFC with their millions of chicken legs. The crowded conditions of factory farms result in a dependency on antibiotics/antivirals to keep the birds alive. Diseases and viruses spread far more quickly in the factory farms when birds are close together and living in unsanitary cages. Compounding this is the evolved resistance of bacteria and viruses to antibiotics and antivirals being used on a regular basis..
The workers at poultry factories are exposed to countless diseases and hyper-resistant bacteria while on the jobsite.”
Crossposted at Santa Cruz Indymedia.