Saturday, February 18, 2006
AND THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
I get away from it often, but I like to post little articles about ordinary folks who DO SOMETHING. The North County Times (which serves San Diego and surrounding communities) reported the following.
Mission Hills student plans KFC protest
By: BRENDA DURAN - Staff Writer
SAN MARCOS, California ---- Lauren Johnson, a junior at Mission Hills High School, wants to ruffle some feathers at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Her plan: gather a crowd of her peers next month to protest at the Nordahl shopping center chicken outlet against alleged animal cruelty by the food chain. Lauren has enlisted the help of the national non-profit animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
"I want to inform people about the cruelty that goes on with the chicken they sell," said Lauren, who became a PETA member two months ago. "I'm doing my best to get the word out."
Lauren said her motivation to drum up a protest began last summer when a friend showed her a video with graphic footage of what appeared to be animal cruelty at slaughter houses serving numerous fast food companies, including Kentucky Fried Chicken.
She said the video changed her perspective and fired her up.
Neither the manager of the Nordahl center KFC nor representatives for Kentucky Fried Chicken returned calls for comment Friday.
Soon after doing some of her own research online, Lauren said she contacted PETA headquarters and asked the organization to supply her with fliers for their KFC "We Do Chickens Wrong" Campaign to pass out at school.
She began passing the fliers out two weeks ago during lunchtime and has even motivated four of her friends to become PETA members within the last month.
One of Lauren's friends, sophomore Ashley Beal, said she joined the effort because she thought it would help open the eyes of people at school to the importance of animal welfare.
"I think a lot of young people would be more involved if they knew more," said Ashley, who is helping Lauren organize the protest. "If you stand up for something and you believe strongly in it, it will open the eyes of a lot of people."
Matt Prescott, manager of farming campaigns at Norfolk, Va.-based PETA, said in a phone interview this week that the organization will supply the Mission Hills group with more fliers as well as a chicken with crutches costume for the protest next month.
Prescott said PETA launched a campaign against Kentucky Fried Chicken three years ago and was victorious in a 2003 lawsuit against the chicken eatery that forced the company to change statements on its website that denied it had practiced animal cruelty.
The organization has launched similar campaigns against McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's.
During lunchtime on Friday, Lauren and a group of her friends continued to pass out more PETA fliers to students on campus, urging them to read about the campaign and take part in the protest.
Not all students were receptive.
Freshman Michael Vanlaar said the flier did not motivate him to join the efforts. "I like KFC," said Michael, while reading the flier. "All I care about is if the food tastes good or not."
Others, like senior Amanda Mellor, were divided on the issue.
"It tastes good, but it's morally wrong," said Amanda, after hearing her group of friends discuss the fliers.
By the time lunchtime was over on Friday, Lauren and her friends giggled optimistically after passing out more than 30 fliers.
"I'm confident we've convinced enough people to come out," said Lauren. "I think once they go home and go to the website they'll want to join us next month."
Lauren said she and her friends have also posted the fliers in classrooms, made announcements in front of their classes and talked about the protest within their social circles.
So far, she said she has been able to convince a dozen of her friends and classmates to show up at the protest, which she is tentatively planning for the third week of March.
"It might not make a huge difference right away, but every small effort counts," she said.