Mr. Richard Zien, CEO |
Mendelsohns/Zien Advertising Agency
11111 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Dear Mr. Zien:
As a follow up to our phone conversation today, I would like to take
this opportunity to thank you for talking with me about the TV
advertisement that your agency produced for Carl's Restaurants that
is currently airing in California, in which a half a dozen men in
suits hold and handle a live chicken looking for the bird's
I would like to request that a copy of this advertisement be sent to
our office as soon as possible to the following address:
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
12325 Seaside Road, PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
For the past two days our office has received complaints about the ad
including these statements from California residents:
"I was disgusted by the Carl Jr's. ad I saw on TV tonight. It showed
a bunch of men looking for a live chicken's 'nuggets.'"
"Tonight on TV I saw a dozen men in suits mishandling a live chicken
looking for 'nuggets.'"
"I called Carl's head office and complained vehemently, and also CBS
after seeing Carl's advertisement that has men looking for a live
"Have you seen the ad of a live chicken being 'searched' for
'nuggets'? Isn't there a law against such treatment of animals on
"The visuals were bad and the audio was equally revolting."
"Looking for a bird's 'nuggets'--What does this teach our children?"
"Carl's Jr. has no taste and I never would eat there. I shall ask my
friends to do likewise."
As I said on the phone, I hoped to view the ad before issuing an
Alert to our supporters via the Internet. However, it is clear from
everyone's description, including yours, that even if the bird or
birds used in the ad were not physically harmed during the filming,
the ad portrays chickens in a degrading and demeaning manner, as
Chickens are sensitive individuals, Mr. Zien. They experience pain
and suffering, and they are intelligent. The author of The
Development of Brain and Behaviour in the Chicken (1995), Dr. Lesley
Rogers, a specialist in avian physiology and ethology, says "it
should be realized that even vastly improved intensive systems are
unlikely to meet the cognitive demands of the hitherto underestimated
chicken brain," and "with increased knowledge of the behaviour and
cognitive abilities of the chicken has come the realization that the
chicken is not an inferior species to be treated merely as a food
source," and "it is now clear the birds have cognitive capacities
equivalent to those of mammals, even primates."
While chickens constitute 98 percent of animals slaughtered for food
in USDA establishments (8.7 billion were birds of whom 8.3 billion
were chickens compared to 139.2 million mammals slaughtered in 2000),
birds are not covered by the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Law
(which isn't enforced anyway).
In conclusion, I request a copy of the ad and urge you to use your
influence to have it removed from the air immediately. It is
offensive. It appeals only to a low-grade sense of humor-the same
kind of humor that considers it funny to see pictorial depictions of
women's bodies carved up into various "grades" of meat. I
respectfully urge you and your agency to dissociate yourselves from
this kind of amusement.
Thank you again for your attention to my concerns and my request. I
look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.
Karen Davis, PhD
17 Jan 2002
From: Rateeka Dayani
Whether or not chickens have feelings is not the whole point. The
point to take into consideration is that the chicken does not KNOW
what's happening to her, why these men are probing and groping around
her body under bright glaring lights, and why she's there in the
first place. The chicken is no Jodie Foster. She does not know that
she's being made the dubious star of some commercial flick designed
to pander to the low-grade humour of low-grade people, who find it
funny to see a bird just falling short of being raped on screen. The
very fact that she's not aware why such things are being done to her
body, and her terrified fear of what's going to come next, is more
harm being done to her than an outright physical assault.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Chickens Are More Than 'Nugget' Machines
Re "What if Someone Went Looking for Your Nuggets?," Jan. 16:
Dana Parson's recent column about the Carl's Jr. commercial is a
fair, well-done article. It may seem absurd to find wrong in a
commercial that is obviously intending to be humorous, not offensive,
but is it really so absurd to object to the poking and prodding of an
animal that in many studies has been found to be both an intelligent
and sensitive creature.
Objectifying animals leads to mistreatment, just as objectifying
humans does. Perhaps if chickens were not just considered "nugget"
and egg-emitting machines, their horrific treatment on factory farms,
as well as in commercials, could improve.
Bryn Mawr, Pa.
Dana Parsons writes a fair column on the campaign by United Poultry
Concerns to get Carl's Jr. restaurant to pull its TV ad depicting
grown men searching for a live chicken's "nuggets." The idea that
such an advertisement is demeaning to chickens may be laughed off by
some, but it is important to realize the extent to which our
treatment of animals is a result of portrayal of them in the media.
This advertisement essentially says to the public that chickens are
to be thought of as mere commodities, not as living, feeling beings.
Perhaps this is why the poultry industry makes so little effort to
treat these animals with any compassion.
Chickens are raised in such filthy, cramped conditions that they
can't even stretch their wings for their entire lives. Many are
starved for up to two weeks to artificially induce the egg-laying
process. In slaughterhouses, many chickens miss the killing blade and
are boiled alive. Perhaps if we had more respect for chickens as a
society, we would be more willing to treat them with respect as
feeling, sentient beings.
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.|
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(UPC Letter Re: Offensive Carl's Jr Ad Using A Live Chicken)