Back in my younger days — by which I mean “June” — I posted a comment on Amy’s VegCookingBlog about PETA trumpeting their heroic Kentucky Fried Chicken coup, in which KFC agreed to introduce a “vegan” fake-chicken option and work to implement some welfare reforms for the birds they kill. Any reader of this blog could probably guess the general gist of my observations: if not, please consider this, this, this, this, this, and this.

Interestingly, the discussion kept going after I left. I remarked on this again in the comments and went back to other endeavors unrelated to commenting on blogs. Turns out it still kept going: the most recent post is from the end of September. Overall, it’s a pretty fascinating look at abolitionist vs. welfarist arguments in general, and specifically the way that even suggesting activist collusion with animal oppressors is problematic gets one labeled “divisive” (in so many words).

In fact, at least two readers of that debate came and left responses on my About page. I’ve copied them over here instead and they’re after the jump.

(1) Carly Says:
July 18, 2008 at 10:25 pm e

I think your really funny and I like reading your writing but your a little radical when it comes to veganism. I am a vegan also. I got to your blog by basically stalking you and reading your comments on the vegcooking blog about KFC… this is how I feel. In a perfect world we wouldn’t have to consider a fast-food chain selling one vegan option alongside the dozens of meat dishes a victory, but we live in the USA and this is the CLOSEST that A LOT of people will ever even get to a faux-meat product. I think just the exposure of it will get people thinking, as their sitting in the fast-food line on their fat asses. People are sheep, and they will follow. But first we have to get to the sheep, and blogs and protesting and such isn’t going to reach the masses. PETA is playing the companies, if you will, if you want to think about it optimistically; and the way they have to present their argument has to be in the way KFC is going to understand. Money, efficiency, profit. If they talk about animal welfare, or about how they launch protests all around the United States during lunch-hour and get customers to actually turn away from their business- their not going to give a PETA spokesperson the time of day. Unfortunately, it’s the game you have to play. It’s a shit taco and a shit sandwich. Those are our options.
Think about it, KFC isn’t going to go out of business. Probably never. There are always going to be fast food chains; but I feel that in the future, less and less meat will be produced and the sooner we can get corporations to kill less and less animals, I think it can be considered a victory. I heard a quote once that validates all of my doubts (that I have from time to time), when I feel that I’m not doing enough: Do not choose to do nothing, simply because you can’t do everything. Do something, anything. That is the only way to begin or to inspire.
Anyways, that’s my piece. Had to get it off my chest.

(2) Kristen Says:
October 31, 2008 at 3:51 am e

Hi, I also arrived here from the KFC post. I think you’re on the right track, and I don’t think your views are too “radical” at all. I think what carly said above has a lot of good points, but I still disagree that this sandwhich is really “Progress”. I like the fact that people will have a vegan option widely available, but I also think that it’s an excuse to become complacent about KFC and what they do. Actually, it’s not being complacent if you’re actually funding it, right? wouldnt that make you a supporter of it? I see it as backsliding, kind of. it’s just providing a wider customer base for a restaurant that is one of the larges sources of animal cruelty… and putting more money in their pockets so they can continue producing not only veggie sandwiches, but also meat ones. not to mention that they’re fried in the same deep frier as the meat version, which is also counter-productive if you’re trying to market something as “vegan” (AKA animal free).

it’s honestly the same arguement as consuming dairy. the dairy industry DIRECTLY promotes the meat industry, because after dairy cows are dried up from milk production, they are slaughtered and sold as meat. Being vegetarian, and not vegan, in my opinion is a good idea in theory, but also counter-productive. yes, it is a step closer to the end goal… but just because it’s a step in the right direction, doesnt mean that we have to settle for less than what we’re demanding (animal liberation for all). I feel that the only reason anyone would defend either arguement (diary consumption, or fast food corperations who make money off of exploiting animals carrying ‘vegan’ options), is mainly because of comfort zones. If i want to consume dairy, I can probably come up with a reason to justify it to myself simply because I want to. In the same arguement, Purchasing a ‘veggie sandwich’ from a huge corperation that funds animal cruely is a bit counter-productive and ironic, don’t you think?

anyways, i honestly kind of find it ridiculous that people see this point of view as ‘too radical’! i guess total animal liberation is just a little too radical for our country, because no one wants to inconvenience themselves enough to see total change. sure, KFC probably ‘wont close it’s doors any time soon’ (especially if even vegetarians and vegans are funding it, huh?), which seems to be the majority of most of the arguements I’m seeing, but does that mean we just give in and accept it? If you truely belive in something, and are passionate about it (and the movements progression), wouldn’t you lay down everything to see that goal come to pass? How can you profess to care about animals, and want to see animal cruelty come to an end, and justify something that puts money in the pockets of the people we’re fighting? I’ll never get it. I’m sorry that opinion isnt a a very popular one, but that’s not really what I’m concerned with. If someone is pushed away from veganism because of my ‘radical views’, then are they really persuing it for the right reasoning in the first place? veganism is definitely the MOST inconvenience choice I have ever made (Blame it on the man, i suppose?)… but it one the most progressive (for myself, and our culture) that I’ve made and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I don’t normally throw my opinions on this out there, but I was just so shocked that so many vegetarians and vegans were saying that the goal of total animal liberation was just ‘too radical’. Whats wrong with this picture? Has our meat submersed culture warped our views on veganism so much that we see this sandwich as progression, and the idea of total animal liberation as radical?

and to those who are saying that we are just providing a negative opinion, and not a solution… I believe that I’m already promoting MY idea of a solution: Boycot KFC. (original, i know…) I think that by chosing to not put my money in the pockets of those who are slaughtering animals for profit is a lot better of an option than promoting it and patting corperations on the head because they can manage to provide ONE vegetarian option. big deal. put your money where your mouth is, i say!

KFC Vegan Chicken: good idea in theory, but wrong direction, in my opinion.