This blog was a bit of a struggle to write. Russell and I share so many similar beliefs but at the core, on the subject of animals, I am a bad ass, take no prisoners, in your face angry animal rights activist. Years of being on the streets on a grass roots level have made me this way. I have no shame in that game. However, Russell believes you catch more bees with honey and is constantly asking me to come from a place of tolerance and understanding. This is our battle…and so, this blog doesn’t completely reflect my outrage partly because I respect his opinion and also because I do love Oprah Winfrey and do have faith in her.
How proud I have been of Oprah these last few years with her battle (and win!) against the meat industry, her programs detailing the horrors of factory farming, barbaric puppy mills and her very public devastation over the deaths of her beloved ‘children’ (her dogs) – all of which have made me feel a true kinship with her.
Every time she came out to fight for the most choice-less/ voice-less creatures in society I sat in front of my television with tears in my eyes cheering loudly in my living room. I knew that her exposes would ultimately save the lives of quite possibly millions of animals. How fortunate the animals are to have a true friend in Oprah I thought. The woman that elected our President, or at least had a big hand in his win, was campaigning for the most abused creatures that walk this planet. Awesome. Then, BAM! my beloved Oprah went off track. At first, I didn’t believe what I was seeing. There she was, the Queen of All Media (or as Russell calls her, The Queen of the New American Consciousness), on myscreen proclaiming that she had a special, generous treat for recession-hit families: a free meal to her loyal viewers. That’s amazing I thought and imagined her getting ready to present coupons for a healthy vegan meal. I almost fell over when she said her ‘gift’ was Kentucky Fried Chicken dinners. WHAT???!!!!???? And to hear her go on and on about what a healthy choice it was? Puh-leeze, you can put a bogus ‘Healthy!’ sticker on it all you want, but cholesterol-filled, artery-clogging flesh is still unhealthy, whether you fry it or grill it–and grilled chicken has been shown to contain tons of carcinogens.
People deserve to be educated about the poisons they are ingesting in these fast food chains and the reason they are unhealthy. Two thirds of Americans are overweight and one third are obese-primarily due to the cheap, readily available junk that is served in happy meals and family sized buckets across America. And as for the environment, let¹s be real here: since it takes several pounds of wholesome grain to produce a single pound of unhealthy chicken meat- that rapes the environment and puts struggling people in a competition with meat eaters for grain that could (and should!) be given to the world’s poor.
And of course don’t even get me started on the cruelty of eating chicken. This is what I care the most about. Peta has long tried to secure the bare minimal amount protections for these poor chickens and been fought every step of the way by KFC and their suppliers. In fact, Russell personally lost millions of dollars when his own deal with their suppliers came to a screeching halt after it became problematic that he was a mediator in the Peta/KFC talks. I remember how frustrating those meetings were and how disappointed we were that KFC wouldn’t budge for the sake of the animals.
The roughly 1 billion chickens killed each year for KFC’s buckets are crammed by the tens of thousands into excrement-filled sheds that stink of ammonia fumes. The birds’ legs and wings often break because they¹re bred to be too top-heavy and because workers carelessly shove them into tra