Friday, April 15, 2005
Hey PETA (!corporate terrorists?) don't mess with Brownsville
This story has so much meat (pun intended) that I'll just highlight my favorite quotes for your edification. -Richard
PETA gets rude welcome in Brownsville
Group braves sprinkler system to spread message of chicken treatment
By Gilberto Salinas
The Brownsville Herald
April 14, 2005 — Why did the chicken cross the road?
Well, it depends who you ask in Brownsville.
A protesting trio from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), one of which was dressed in a chicken outfit, stood their ground Wednesday at The Chicken Stop as they briefly protested next to the local eatery. Then they crossed Boca Chica Boulevard to picket the nearby KFC for the restaurant suppliers’ treatment of chickens.
“They already hit me in McAllen,” said John Olivo, shortly before cranking KFC’s sprinkler system at full blast and soaking the curbside protestors.
“I was already waiting for them here in Brownsville,” he laughed.
The PETA members were also greeted by David Ingersoll, a Los Fresnos beef-eating supporter who showed up with his children to antagonize their protest.
When the chicken crossed the boulevard, he followed.
Armed with a microphone and a hand-held speaker, Ingersoll shot strait at the chicken protestors and outspoke them at one of the busiest intersections in the city in the middle of a hot South Texas afternoon.
“You bunch of crazy animal rights nuts!” he shouted. “You’re not going to win. Not in Brownsville!”
His two step-children hurriedly passed out anti-PETA pamphlets to drivers stopping at the intersection.
“I’m waiting for someone to throw a cabrito head at them so they know what part of the country they are in,” Ingersoll said.
The protesters were then greeted by high school students yelling insults from their school bus windows.
“Who’s your chicken daddy?” one student yelled as he and others stuck their heads outside the bus and screamed.
Despite the rude welcome, the PETA members remained outside the KFC to spread their message.
“It hasn’t been quite like this in other parts of the state,” said Chris Link, PETA’s campaign coordinator who is traveling to protest KFC in 12 Texas cities.
The group also protested in McAllen on Wednesday but did not receive the same harsh treatment, he said.
“It’s a rarity that we get this,” he said after the mid-afternoon dousing outside KFC.
The protests are part of an international campaign to get KFC to put pressure on slaughter houses, which are inhumanely killing the chickens, according to claims by PETA.
The campaign thickened after talks between PETA and KFC corporate officials fell through in March.
So as part of a national tour, Brownsville was placed on the PETA map.
“We’re out here today to raise awareness about the chickens,” said Link, a Baltimore native. “All we want them (slaughter houses) to do is gas the chickens instead of killing them.”
PETA suggests a “controlled-atmosphere” killing, using gases such as nitrogen and argon to kill the chickens.
The gas chambers would ensure a painless death for the birds, PETA reported in its Web site. Slaughter houses currently use an electrical stun method or cut off the birds’ heads.
In a previous story, KFC spokeswoman Bonnie Warschauer told The Associated Press that "we don’t comment on the corporate terrorist activities of PETA. They are corporate terrorists and just like the United States government, we will not negotiate with corporate terrorists."
Ingersoll said he hopes KFC stands firm against PETA’s demands.
“I don’t know about you, but I want my chicken to be cut in the throat, hung upside down and bled to death,” Ingersoll said. “I don’t want no chicken that has been gassed. Chickens are not gassed in the farm.”
Olivo also was not sympathetic toward the activists. He accused them of taking away his way of life.
“As far as I’m concerned, they are terrorists. I’m trying to make a living and they are trying to stop my people from making a living,” he said just before cranking the water system at full blast, showering the protesters.
“To me, there is no difference between them and al-Qaida.”
Link was accompanied by Chris Arellano, an Uvalde native, who was holding a television showing the slaughter of chickens.
Eric Deardorff, the man inside the chicken suit, was at the receiving end of most of the obscene comments at the intersection.
Link said awareness is vital to PETA’s goal in stopping cruelty to animals. The organization’s reason for pressuring KFC is because the company is the nation’s largest buyer of chicken. The restaurant chain, therefore, has the power to change the way slaughter houses kill the chickens.
“Almost all (PETA’s) money goes directly to fund animals,” Link said. “Every dime goes directly to helping animals whether it’s through demonstrations (or) to raise awareness.”
Olivo said the campaign is hypocrisy. “I’m sure they secretly eat their hamburgers,” he said.
I'm not sure which is more feather-brained, the tactics of PETA or the uninformed responses of the KFC folks. " I want my chicken to be cut in the throat, hung upside down and bled to death." If only it were done so humanely.
I hadn't heard of the gas chamber thing, but it sounds reasonable. I especially like the idea of using argon. It's a fun word.
On the other hand, wouldn't it be better to try to organize a boycott of KFC? I mean rallying in fron of a restaurant does grab media attention, but come on. It just gives fuel to people who claim PETA folks are crazy.
They need something more grass roots, and if people don't respond to it, then obviously not enough people care. If a majority of consumers don't care, then nothing will change KFC's practices.
So are we going for fried chicken after tennis next week?