Girls in bikinis claim KFC tortures chicks
by Vicki Everett

Volunteer Nicole Matthews stops traffic as officer Dave Deshon explains proper attire to Rajt.

Animal rights activists clad in bikinis picketed Kentucky Fried-Chicken-calmly-last Thursday.

But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) campaign coordinator Lyndsay Rajt and volunteer Nicole Matthews of Rochester, N.Y., were asked by a Jacksonville police officer to cover up while staging their protest.

"We tour using our bikinis to get attention all over the country," Rajt said. "This is the first time we’ve ever been told we were not wearing appropriate attire and asked to cover up."

According to Jacksonville Police Chief Tommy Thomp-son, the officer advised the girls to cover themselves because they were causing a potentially dangerous traffic situation.

"One of the girls asked the officer if it was a law," Thompson said. "The officer said ‘no’ but told them they were creating a hazardous situation with traffic by not just the way they were dressed but were also stopping cars while they handed out materials."

Thompson also said someone from PETA called the JPD with inquiries for local law specifics last week.

"A representative from PETA called a few weeks ago and asked if there was a requirement of a permit to parade or picket," Thompson said.

Rajt said she and Matthews were hoping to deter as many people as possible from eating at KFC because of what they believe is cruel treatment of the animals by the fast-food chain. Rajt has been on the campaign for better treatment of animals since August but said the KFC boycott is two years old.

"People can make a difference," Rajt said. "What we are recommending is not tofu instead of chicken, but that the chickens are a part of a mechanized gathering process so that chickens can be killed as quickly and humanely as possible."

PETA sponsors a Web site, where its claims against KFC are listed. When contacted, KFC manager Wendy Nunn had no comment on the protest. Nunn said she was advised by corporate and regional manager Cheryl Sullivan to refrain from commenting on the situation.

PETA claims chickens are inquisitive and interesting animals thought to be as intelligent as cats and dogs. PETA feels these cruelties would result in felony-cruelty-to-animals charges if cats or dogs were victims.