Down in Farmerville, Louisiana, the old Pilgrim's Pride chicken processing plant is closing down, and Governor Bobby Jindal wanted to spend $20 million to help another company buy it.
So PETA said, "Ooh, ooh! We know. How about a 'Chicken Empathy museum?'"
Needless to say, Governor Jindal thought the idea was as dumb as a bag of Alabamans, and said no.
According to John Kelso's column in the American Statesman, PETA's plan would have included a kids' play area that looked like a chicken cage that showed the cramped living conditions are for chickens. (Never mind that chickens that are processed in processing plants aren't raised in cages. They're raised in open poultry buildings.)
Ashley Byrne, campaign coordinator for PETA, told Kelso that the museum would have an educational display highlighting facts about chickens.
"They're intelligent animals with mental capabilities that are comparable to cats, dogs and even primates," Byrne said. "In nature, mother hens cluck to their unborn chicks who chirp back from their shells."
Plus they're tasty when they're breaded and fried in hot oil.
But you wouldn't find anything like that at the Chicken Empathy Museum.
"Actually, we did plan to serve faux chickens, vegetarian chickens made from healthy plant protein in the museum restaurant, along with an array of other tasty vegetarian food," said Byrne, presumably with a straight face.
The only tasty vegetarian food I've found are the French fries I get with my hamburger. "Tasty," "vegetarian," and "food" are not three words I usually hear together, at least in that order.
Kelso made an interesting point:
One thing that drives me crazy is the way vegheads flock — pun intended — to nonmeat products that are balled up to look like meat, such as the Tofurky. If vegetarians are dead set against meat, how come they want to eat vegetables hand-formed to look like critters?
"That's probably just a matter of familiarity," Ashley told him.
I think PETA's just phoning it in now. A few years ago, they would have hurled red paint on people or proposed giving beer to kids.
Now they just want to give plush chickens to kids that say "I am not a nugget."
Come on, PETA, you're slowing down in your old age. A chicken empathy museum? Is that all you can come up with now? Less than ten years ago, you were asking the Green Bay Packers to change their name to the Pickers, or Fishkill, New York to change their name to Fishsave (even though "kill" is the Dutch word for "stream").
What happened to you guys? Are you going soft? Getting respectable? Going all corporate and nice on us? Where's the venom? Where's the eye-rolling audacity? Where's all the really moronic stuff that you used to do that gave humor columnists like me something to sink our teeth into and make fun of?
Ask AIG to change their name because it's the phonetic pronunciation of the result of poultry exploitation. Lobby to change the phrase, "bring home the bacon" to "bring home the organically-produced tofu," because bacon is made from pigs. Sponsor "No Pants Day" this summer in protest of people wearing leather belts.
Don't let me down, PETA.
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