People for the ethical treatment of Animals is celebrating a small victory following the decision of a local billboard company to run their controversial ad targeting KFC for its alleged cruelty to chickens. So far, Toronto is the only Canadian city to run the ad, which shows a blood-soaked Colonel Sanders about to take a butcher knife to the neck of one of his birds. The scene was deemed too wild for Winnipeg, too raunchy for Regina and too sick for Saskatoon.
But Prime Outdoor, the company that accepted the ad here, is quick to shy away from the media spotlight.
Ross Dan, of the Toronto branch of the U.S.-based ad company, tells NOW, "We haven't had any flak. We don't seek out controversial advertising," before quickly and politely excusing himself from further questions.
About 10 cities in North America have accepted the ad, while it's been rejected by companies including giant Viacom in 25 other major cities. PETA is still waiting to hear if companies in Calgary, Halifax, Fredericton, Victoria and St. John's will agree to run the Kentucky Fried Cruelty ad.
"Once in a while you get someone who is horrified by the graphic nature of the ad," says PETA spokesperson Dan Shannon. "But we need to make the ads reflect the severity of the abuse."
PETA's ad campaign, with the slogan "KFC - We do chickens wrong," got started just over a year ago following two years of unsuccessful negotiations with KFC to change their slaughterhouse techniques.
KFC remains defiant.
"We will never negotiate with PETA until they stop vandalizing restaurants, until they stop copyright infringement on KFC, until they stop lying about the chicken industry in Canada," says Corey Goodman, director of corporate and legal affairs for KIT, KFC's largest Canadian franchisee.
According to Goodman, many of PETA's claims don't apply to Canada's tightly regulated chicken industry.
"They're free to roam in their barns," he says. "And they are not defeathered while they're alive."
Meanwhile, the Television Bureau of Canada, an industry standards organization, has given the thumbs-down to a PETA television advert claiming KFC de-beaks chickens.