PETA wants ads on fire trucks after KFC campaign

The animal rights group wants to be able to use city fire trucks to denounce cruelty to chickens

By Charles Wilson
Associated Press Financial Wire

INDIANAPOLIS — An animal rights group figures if KFC can use fire extinguishers and hydrants to promote chicken wings, it should be able to use city fire trucks to denounce cruelty to chickens.

People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals has offered Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard $7,500 in return for advertising space on the vehicles, after the fast-food chain announced this week that it will pay for city fire extinguishers in exchange for advertising on them. It also is paying for smoke detectors the city will give away.

PETA's proposed ad shows a plucked and scalded chicken with the phrases "Chickens Are Burned To Death At KFC" and "Boycott Cruelty." The group claims many KFC chickens are scalded to death during processing; it has long criticized the restaurant's treatment of animals.

Speak up

Check out what these FireRescue1 Facebook fans had to say about the proposed PETA ads and voice your opinion in the member comments section.
"Now thats dumb! I dont think fire fighting equipment should be used for ad displays of PETA or KFC, we use this stuff to save lives not promote a company."
Dave Maxwell
"Special interest groups, like PETA have no business putting ads on fire apparatus as they are not necessarily in agreement with everyone's opinion. I do not, however, see any issue with a local/locally based corporation buying or chipping in (at least 50 percent) on fire apparatus and placing prominent sponsor ads on said vehicle if it is done in good taste and integrates well with the vehicle."
Jeffrey Flaker

"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.

KFC wants to expand the monthlong campaign to three other cities nationwide. So far, it also is giving $2,500 to Brazil, Ind., for the right to emblazon local hydrants with the face of the chain's founder, Colonel Sanders.

Jen Pittman, spokeswoman for the Indianapolis mayor, said Friday that PETA's offer would have to meet city guidelines that require corporate sponsorships to yield a public benefit.

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

"Not all kinds of city assets are appropriate to display an ad," she said. Heavy advertising on a fire truck could even lead motorists to believe a truck heading for an emergency was just performing a stunt, she said.

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

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

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