By Lindsay Pollard-Post
This clever PETA supporter gave the term "armchair activism" a whole new meaning by sitting down in order to stand up for chickens who have their throats cut open and are scalded alive by McDonald's suppliers. Check out our interview with Andre, the man behind the chicken suit:
What made you want to hold a protest against McDonald's?
Countless birds are suffering unnecessarily because of barbaric methods of killing. We wanted to make people aware of this cruelty and provide them with a way to make a difference. The McCruelty campaign was a perfect fit. When people take part in the McDonald's boycott, they become advocates for animals, and this can often inspire them to get more involved. People like to know that they are making a difference, and this is a great way to help them achieve that.
What advice do you have for other PETA supporters who want to get active against McCruelty?
Get out there and spread the word. A great way is to have demonstrations and protests. We recommend that people make their protests as fun as possible. We find that the more wacky—and unique—a protest is, the more people will remember it, think about it, tell others, and take action. There will be people who will try to discourage you. Always treat bitterness with kindness, and do your best to stay positive—animals are depending on it! Remember to take pictures and keep PETA informed about what you did so that you can earn points, win prizes, and inspire others.
How did you organize your protest?
It only takes one person with a desire for change to start a group and organize a protest. Some people seem to think that you need a massive number of people in order for a protest to be effective. We've done dozens of protests and can tell you that it's not the number of people in the protest—it's the way you do it. We've had protests that were more effective with three people than with more than 30. We suggest that you order the materials from PETA and ask around for advice. There are so many people who are ready to help.
What has been the response in your local neighborhood?
During the events, we often see people honking, smiling, and waving. We see people scream with happiness, and we see people stopping their cars or going well out of their way to pick up the literature. It's great when people tell us that they heard about our protest from someone else. This means that people are talking! We want to remind people that not everyone is going to show enthusiasm. Many will just look. But when someone looks, you've accomplished your goal. You've prompted that person to think about a very serious issue. Graphic images and catchphrases often stay in peoples minds for a long time.
Do you have any suggestions for the McCruelty campaign?
McDonald's has been telling the public, "You deserve a break today." We think that birds who are used for McDonald's nuggets deserve a break, so we're asking the public to "Take a break from McDonald's cruelty." Well, it's not actually us doing the asking. Our cute and cuddly mascot, Chicken, is! It is helpful to remember that advocates for animals are leading the way toward a higher level of ethics. Every one of us is working to dismantle, piece by piece, the industries that exploit animals. And as a whole, we are making a huge difference! So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get active!
Andre shows that whatever our time constraints, personality, and energy level, there is something important we can do to speak out against McCruelty. Write a letter to McDonald's. Post a note on Facebook about why you're hatin' it. Wear your feelings about McCruelty on your shirt. Pull up a chair in front of your local Mickey D's and hand out leaflets to wake people up. But whatever you do—thanks! The birds are counting on us all.