Petaluma potholes pit PETA against KFC

Animal rights activists are clucking over Petaluma?s plans to allow the KFC restaurant chain to fix potholes in the city.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said Tuesday the company sells ?cruelly produced products? and should not be permitted to stencil its logo over repaired spots in the pavement.

Instead, PETA said the city should accept its offer of $6,000 ? twice what KFC was promising ? to do the job itself. The group proposes its own stencil ? an image of KFC?s iconic founder, Colonel Sanders, with horns beside the message: ?KFC tortures animals.?

?We think people would be upset to learn road repairs were a direct result of cruelty to chickens,? PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt said.

Late last week, KFC announced it had selected Petaluma and three other cities to receive pothole repair money under a national campaign to fix roads and promote the company.

KFC will send Petaluma a $3,000 check and a stencil for applying the ?Re-Freshed by KFC? logo with temporary spray chalk. It asked the city to place the logo on at least one repaired pothole. The work will be completed in the next couple of weeks, KFC spokesman Rick Maynard said in an e-mail Tuesday.

Maynard said KFC is committed to the well-being and humane treatment of chickens. He wouldn?t comment on PETA?s counteroffer.

?We don?t comment on PETA?s activities as their reputation speaks for itself,? Maynard said.

Petaluma was chosen along with three other cities in Kansas, Ohio and Tennessee after the company received a request from Mayor Pam Torliatt, explaining the city?s dual reputation for chicken farming and tire-flattening potholes.

PETA responded with a letter to Torliatt on Monday, asking her to reconsider.

She didn?t return calls Tuesday but said in an e-mail that the city would stick with the KFC offer and forego participating in a ?game of chicken over our pothole paving.?

The company will be allowed to place its stenciled logo on a single pothole in exchange for the money, she said.

?Diversity of opinion is well-respected by all in Petaluma and we appreciate that others, in addition to KFC, are concerned about helping revitalize our community,? she said.

Rajt said PETA was disappointed by Torliatt?s choice and hoped she would change her mind. PETA made the pothole counteroffer to the other cities but has yet to receive a response, Rajt said.

She said PETA has investigated firms that supply chickens to KFC and uncovered abuses. Activists have held more than 13,000 demonstrations nationwide, including a protest last year in Bakersfield in which Rajt picketed outside a restaurant in a bright yellow bikini and spiked heels, she said.

?I would think any Petaluma resident would want to double the money to attack potholes and would welcome an offer that wouldn?t have a corporate agenda,? Rajt said. ?We hope the mayor will consider it and come back with an affirmative.?

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