PETA wants to rent Virginia prison building for use as 'Chicken Empathy Museum'
Ever vigilant and ever media-savvy, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has written to Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine with an offer to rent his state's Botetourt Correctional Center building. Kaine recently named the prison, which is in the Virginia town of Troutville and houses nearly 350 inmates, among a number of state facilities to be closed because of budget concerns.
PETA's stated plans for the building? The group wants to turn it into a "Chicken Empathy Museum," designed to both raise awareness about the treatment of chickens raised for slaughter and to paint the humble fowl as thinking, feeling beings who don't deserve such a fate. The museum, it says, would also feature a "Chicken Empathy Restaurant" that would serve items like faux-chicken drumsticks and chickenless pot pie. In the letter to Kaine, PETA also promised that it would give each visitor aged 12 or younger a free plush chicken toy with a tag reading "I Am Not A Nugget!" (The line refers to the mascot of PETA's youth-outreach wing, PETA2.)
"In addition to creating jobs, the museum would convert a building that was built for the purpose of incarceration into a tribute to liberation," PETA's executive vice president, Tracy Reiman, said of the proposed museum. (Kaine's plan to close the prison would mean the loss of about 120 jobs.)
But a spokesperson for Kaine, Lynda Tran, told the Associated Press that the state doesn't lease to private entities, with the exception of cases in which such leases are already in place when the state buys a building.
-- Tony Pierce and Lindsay Barnett
Photo: A PETA supporter plays the part of a crippled chicken as part of a protest against alleged abuse of chickens by suppliers to fast-food restaurant KFC. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times