To protest alleged abuse of chickens, members of Irvine Students Against Animal Cruelty held a demonstration in front of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant across from campus last Friday.
The protest was part of a campaign by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that pushes for an international boycott of KFC until their standards in treating chickens are raised.
‘We’re hoping to inform the public about the inherent cruelty in KFC’s production of chickens,’ said Jan Smith, fourth-year English literature major. Smith is also the president of ISAAC, which started on campus last spring.
ISAAC’s mission is ‘to raise awareness of the connection between the exploitation of animals, human health and the environment.’
In addition to protesting, they participate in campaigns and volunteer work to support the welfare of animals.
The students held up signs; some read ‘Hungry for Dead Decayed Chickens’ and ‘Scalded Alive,’ and displayed bloody pictures of tortured chickens.
ISAAC also passed out fliers from PETA that described the alleged cruel treatment of KFC chickens: ‘Birds are crammed by the tens of thousands into sheds that reek of ammonia so strongly that if you were to walk inside, you might pass out. Just imagine living there. Each bird is crammed into a space smaller than a piece of notebook paper, not even enough space to spread one wing their entire lives.’
‘Even if you eat meat, you’d be appalled at the way KFC’s chickens are treated,’ Smith said. ‘The tips of their beaks are cut off immediately after they’re born, and they are bred to be so large that they can collapse under their own weight and suffer heart attacks.
‘The male chicks are immediately killed upon birth because they don’t grow fast enough for meat, and they are dunked in scalding electrified water.’
Several drivers honked their horns and gave thumbs-up signs in support of the protestors. Others mocked the protestors by clucking like chickens.
Fourth-year computer engineering major Kyaw Aung, a passerby, said, ‘I saw a video of the KFC farms and I think the way they treated the animals in the video is very cruel, and animals deserve better than that.’
Aung referred to undercover videos of KFC farms that are shown on PETA’s Web site at http://www.kentuckyfriedcruelty.com.
In one of the videos, farm workers are shown tearing live birds apart, spitting tobacco into their eyes, spray painting their faces, stomping on them and throwing them against walls.
Charlotte Gordon, third-year English major, hopes that the protest will shed light on how KFC treats their chickens.
‘We want customers to boycott KFC, because KFC needs to raise their standards on how they raise and slaughter chickens,’ Gordon said. ‘We aren’t asking people to become vegetarian. KFC’s animal welfare advisory committee even told them that they need to raise their standards, but KFC didn’t listen to their advice.’
Evelyn Dynebraafen, a resident of Huntington Beach and a veteran of animal rights demonstrations for more than 30 years, heard about the protest and came to support the effort to raise awareness of KFC’s practices.
‘There’s a lot of cruelty involved, but no one cares about killing [chickens] because people kill each other all the time,’ Dynebraafen said. ‘But it’s just not healthy for people to eat decayed animals.’
‘The chickens can’t speak for themselves,’ Smith said. ‘If they could, they’d be demonstrating every day, demanding their freedom from exploitation. We must be their representatives.’
ISAAC meetings are held on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. in HICF 100A.