People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has made a name for itself by engaging in behavior designed to attract media attention.
One of the tactics PETA uses is attempting to get towns across the globe to change the names of streets, landmarks and even the towns themselves. So far, the animal rights group has only managed to embarrass itself because of poor research into the names they want changed.
The name PETA finds so offensive is found, this time, in Idaho. The street name the animal rights warrior group is insisting be changed is Chicken Dinner Road.
In their haste to make news, however, PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman sent a letter to Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas about the name change. The only problem is that Chicken Dinner Road isn’t in the town of Caldwell. It is a rural road located in Canyon County. Any changes would be handled by the county commissioners, not the mayor of Caldwell.
The mistake is reminiscent of some of PETA’s earlier attempts to force towns to change the names of cities and streets. For example, last year the group tried to get the town of Wool, a large village in the Purbeck district of Dorset, England, to change its name to “Vegan Wool.”
PETA claimed that sheep’s wool has been shown to be a product of extreme cruelty. The town fathers had to school PETA on the fact that the village name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for a spring, as in water, and has never been associated with the wool industry.
PETA also set its sights on the ancient French village of Issigeac. The medieval town is located in the province of Dordogne, which is famous for duck confit and foie gras.
PETA demanded the town’s mayor rename Rue de la Saucisse, which translates to “Sausage Street” to Rue de la Soycisse. The name change would be a nod to soy – a common ingredient in vegan meals.
In another strike against PETA’s attention to detail, the name of the street has nothing to do with food.
Rue de la Saucisse has nothing to do with pork. This is the nickname that the villagers gave to one of [the townsfolk] at the beginning of the 20th century… Her name was Suzanne Tessier and the elders say that she loved this nickname [Saucisse].
It is understood that the woman was nicknamed “saucisse” due to her stooped over appearance — similar to how a sausage bends.
Back to Idaho and Chicken Dinner Road in Canyon County. “Just like dogs, cats, and human beings, chickens feel pain and fear and value their own lives,” said Reiman in the letter, according to an article in the Idaho Statesman.
Reiman requested that the mayor change the name to “one that celebrates chickens as individuals, not as beings to kill, chop up, and label as ‘dinner.’ ”
Claiming the purpose was not to “ruffle any feathers,” Reiman’s letter said the chickens are “confined to crowded, filthy sheds with tens of thousands of other birds, where disease, smothering, and heart attacks are common.”
Changing the name of Chicken Dinner Road would show compassion to chickens and respect for other species, she said. She said PETA would help pay for replacing the sign.
Joe Decker, a spokesman for Canyon County, said the county has heard from a handful of residents who grew up there and don’t want the name to be changed. He said county commissioners were in meetings all morning, and he’s skeptical that they would change the name “based on a letter from PETA.”
In an Idaho Statesman follow-up article, Caldwell Mayor Nancolas weighed-in, saying: “When I first received the letter, I thought it was a joke, I literally laughed! When I realized the letter was for real, it made me extremely irritated that they would waste our time with such a ridiculous request!” in a Face Book message.
“Even if it was (in Caldwell’s jurisdiction), NO WAY, NO CHANCE I would ever consider this truly unbelievable request! We have many issues to consider, but this IS NOT one of them!” Nancolas wrote.
PETA then took to twitter to call the name of the road ‘speciesist,’ and hoped the road would be renamed.
The result was an outpouring of humorous responses from Idahoans:
“Dear PETA, don’t cluck with our road. — Idaho.”
“Right now it just seems like there’s bigger fish to fry, um, I mean more important things to focus on.”
“Of all the things to worry about, this is soooooo stupid.”
“Oh my word @peta focus on real animal issues and not the name of a road in rural Idaho. Chicken Dinner Rd is a great name, leave it alone.”
One cannot help but notice the credibility chasm that exists between a group such as SCI – which spends hundreds of thousands of dollars and hours working with local communities, both foreign and domestic, to develop conservation programs that enhance the lives of the animals and the community members – and PETA, which “protects” animals by asking town leaders to change the names of streets.