Public Service Announcement: This story contains provocative images, including nudity, and may not be suitable for those who blush easily–or for Gordon Ramsay. PETA wants your attention. Part of their mission is to educate the public and bring awareness, thus activism and change, to inhumane treatment of animals in every context. Some chefs, and restaurants, have been on the receiving end of some of PETA's inventive education campaigns, and seemingly everyone from Martha Stewart to Bill Maher to Al Sharpton, yes–you read that right–Al Sharpton, is helping to spread PETA gospel. Their, um, colorful protests, staged at various food-related venues, are nothing if not attention grabbers.
So as a service to our readers, an exercise in cultural anthropology, and maybe a Marketing 101 lesson (Sex Sells) we present a saga of food and protest, in pictures.
Eagle-eyed (no pun intended) readers may observe that Los Angeles PETA demonstrators do not appear in this story. Washington, D.C. PETA media liason Jaime Zalac says “the only food-related protests I'm aware of in LA are McCruelty campaign demonstrations.” The only explanation for this we can think of is that appearing in a PETA ad has become a matter of course for some of our high-profile residents.
Gordon Ramsay was taken to task, and given a particularly pungent bit of education, when PETA demonstrators, dressed as horses, dumped a truckload of manure in front of his restaurant, in protest of his alleged openness to the idea of eating horse meat.
First up–what could be more fitting–a naked protest in front of the Naked Chef's restaurant in London (Jamie Oliver's Fifteen). Oliver did a television program (no, really) in which he urged Brits to buy British pork, as it was raised more humanely than pigs in America. PETA took issue with that, saying that Brits should become vegetarians instead. For more on this story, here's the BBC article about it.
PETA was prepared to pay for a Superbowl commercial, but NBC said no, citing in their letter to PETA, the “licking pumpkin… screwing herself with broccoli” shots among their concerns and reasons for their refusal to air the veggie hardcore.
Playmate of the Year Jayde Nicole and Playmate Jo Garcia serve up tofu weenies last month in a demonstration on Capital Hill against National Hot Dog Month.
Not-so-little mermaids (and mermen) protest fish farms outside the Aquaculture America 2009 convention in Seattle.
One of PETA's current action campaigns, Kentucky Fried Cruelty, aims to “Kick the Bucket,” and calls for a boycott of Kentucky Fried Chicken in protest of the chain's refusal to accept and enact its own Animal Welfare Advisors recommendations for KFC suppliers. And, more “naked truth” demonstrations. Click for a look at all the fun on the Kentucky Fried Cruelty site, including the sign generator.
The Reverend Al Sharpton on why he's not eating KFC, and why other folks shouldn't either.
PETA isn't afraid to take on the Supersize McDonald's, and their McCruelty Campaign, reinstated after a 9-year moratorium because McDonald's refused to require their suppliers to adopt a more humane slaughtering method, features more “Hot Chicks.” These hot chicks are bikini-clad, painted red, and lying in a clear tub.
According to PETA, their graphic spoof Unhappy Meals contain “the image of a knife-wielding “Ronald McDonald,” along with pictures of birds who have been mutilated and scalded alive and information about controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK), the less cruel method of slaughter that PETA is asking McDonald's to adopt. The inside of the Unhappy Meal box is stained with “blood” and contains a “blood”-filled packet urging McDonald's to “Ketchup With the Times,” a paper cutout of a menacing Ronald McDonald with PETA's parody “I'm Hatin' It” logo, a “bloody” plastic chicken, and a “Chicken McCruelty” T-shirt wrapped up like a sandwich.”
And should you think you are immune from PETA's pointed food pedagogy, take note, this advertisement may be appearing soon on a billboard near you.