Denver Axes PETA's Bloody Chicken Statue

City Officials Deny Permit For McDonald's Protest Statue

Denver officials have plucked PETA's dream of planting the statue of "a battered, bloody chicken limping on crutches" outside a McDonald's restaurant on the 16th Street Mall.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals proposed the 65-inch fiberglass statue bearing the inscription "McCruelty: i'm hatin' it," to protest the fast-good giant's poultry slaughtering practices. The statue slogan included PETA's McCruelty campaign logo: a bloody chicken hanging between McDonald's signature golden arches.

Denver Public Works Manager Bill Vidal on Friday denied PETA's permit application for the statue, ruling that the figure of the abused and bandaged chicken constituted a type of sign, the Denver Post reported.

"City laws strictly limit the installation of signs by private parties on public sidewalks," a public works statement said.

A PETA website statement said the city's denial of the 'Crippled Chicken' statue violates free speech rights. Shakira Croce, media coordinator for PETA, said the group will appeal because the statue is a work of art, which she said would be allowed under city ordinance. The white-and-read chicken statue was designed by New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss.

The group wanted to keep the statue in front of the McDonald's at 16th and Champa streets through the summer.

"The statue is intended to represent the millions of chickens killed annually for McDonald's," the PETA statement said. "During slaughter, birds are slammed upside down by their legs into metal shackles, a procedure that often results in broken wings and legs. Birds have their throats cut while they are still conscious, and many are scalded to death in defeathering tanks."

The public work's statement about the permit denial noted that free-speech events are allowed on the 16th Street Mall, including past demonstrations by PETA, the Post reported.

"Furthermore, on public sidewalks throughout the city, people are free to exercise their First Amendment rights by demonstrating, leafleting and canvassing passers-by without the need for any permit whatsoever," the statement added.