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Pamela Anderson takes on KFC
Actress and PETA spokeswoman accuses fast-food operator of cruelty to chickens, calls for boycott.
October 21, 2003: 9:23 AM EDT
By Parija Bhatnagar, CNN/Money Staff Writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Former "Baywatch" star and animal-rights activist Pamela Anderson has sent a scathing letter to KFC accusing it of abusing millions of chickens, and is urging a consumer boycott of the fast-food franchise.

"If people knew how KFC treats its chickens, they'd never eat another drumstick," Anderson wrote to John Bitove, chairman of KFC Canada's parent company, Priszm Brandz.

This is the ad PETA is using in its new campaign.  
This is the ad PETA is using in its new campaign.

KFC, which owns or franchises about 12,300 outlets in 90 countries, is a division of YUM Brands (YUM: Research, Estimates).

"What KFC does to 750 million chickens each year is not civilized or acceptable, and you can help change that," Anderson wrote in a letter circulated by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Thursday. "Cruelty is cruelty, and KFC is being cruel in the extreme. I am calling for a boycott of all KFC restaurants until my friends at PETA tell me that you have agreed to be kinder in your practices."

Her friends in this endeavor include Paul McCartney, music mogul Russell Simmons, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) President and CEO Kweisi Mfume.

Anderson alleges that KFC's suppliers drug the birds "so that they become crippled under their own hefty bulk" and that they scald the chickens to death.

Pamela Anderson

PETA's campaign has included demonstrations around the world, as well as billboard and print advertisements focusing on KFC's alleged cruelty to chickens.

"KFC uses only the highest quality ingredients in all the meals we freshly prepare in our restaurant kitchens," said KFC spokeswoman Bonnie Warschauer.

"We buy our quality chicken from the same trusted brands as you do in the supermarkets, like Perdue, Tyson and Pilgrim's Pride. There's a lot more information about our quality standards on our Web site," Warschauer said.

Anderson, a staunch vegetarian, traded in her trademark Baywatch red swimsuit for a green bikini made of lettuce leaves for PETA's new campaign this summer carrying the slogan "Turn Over a New Leaf -- Try Vegetarian."

The PETA poster debuted in New York's Times Square in May. Michael McGraw, spokesman for PETA, said the poster will be used again next summer, probably in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Separately, PETA said Anderson is also asking fans of the show to write to Siegfried & Roy, urging the duo to retire their animals and build a sanctuary for them.

"Upon learning that Siegfried & Roy's 200-plus employees have been advised to find other jobs, PETA and I are urging the show to use some of the millions of dollars it has made from exotic animals to build a state-of-the-art sanctuary and immediately retire all the animals in the Mirage compound," Anderson wrote in a statement on her Web site earlier this month, a few days after Roy Horn was attacked and critically injured by a tiger during the show's performance.  Top of page

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