PETA wants to roast KFC in ads on city fire trucks

PETA wants to roast KFC in ads on city fire trucks

Credit: AP Photo

PETA wants to roast KFC in ads on city fire trucks

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by Charles WIlson (AP)

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 10, 2010 at 4:40 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- An animal rights group figures if KFC can use fire extinguishers and hydrants to promote its chicken in Indianapolis, it should be able to denounce cruelty to the birds on city fire trucks.

People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals offered to donate $7,500 in a letter to Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard in return for advertising space on the vehicles, after the fast-food chain announced a deal this week to pay for fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in the city in exchange for advertising on them.

The ad proposed by PETA shows a plucked and scalded chicken alongside the taglines "Chickens Are Burned To Death At KFC" and "Boycott Cruelty." PETA claims many KFC chickens are scalded to death during processing at the slaughterhouse and has long criticized what it calls the restaurant's inhumane treatment of animals.

"Our money is as good as KFC's," PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement. "The difference is that our money doesn't come from animal abuse."

KFC spokesman Rick Maynard defended the restaurant's practices and said PETA was known for resorting to publicity stunts.

Earlier this week, KFC and city officials announced that the company would give Indianapolis $5,000 to buy fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. Some 33 extinguishers will be placed in recreation centers at city parks, and fire officials will hand out the detectors, said Jen Pittman, a spokeswoman for Mayor Greg Ballard. KFC also donated $2,500 to pay for fire hydrants in Brazil, Ind., which will be emblazoned with the face of the chain's founder Colonel Sanders.

PETA responded Thursday by offering $7,500 in return for its ads being posted on Indianapolis fire trucks.

Pittman said Friday that officials were willing to discuss the offer with PETA but that it would have to meet city guidelines that require corporate sponsorships to yield a public benefit.

"We're not afraid to do some things that are creative as long as they're good for citizens," she said.

She questioned the propriety of placing advertising on public safety vehicles.

"Not all kinds of city assets are appropriate to display an ad," she said, adding that heavy advertising on a fire truck might lead a motorist to believe the truck was some kind of stunt rather than heading for an emergency.

Pittman said city officials contacted PETA Friday and suggested that sponsoring programs at an animal shelter might be more appropriate.

PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt said the group's legal staff was reviewing the city's policy because it questioned the public benefit of encouraging people to eat "unhealthy products."

"We believe our ads do have a clear public benefit," Rajt said.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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