PETA Demands Small Town Change Road Name to One That 'Celebrates Chickens as Individuals'


There are so many times in my work as a writer that I’m reminded of Voltaire’s take on supplication to the Lord: “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.”

Given that Voltaire was an atheist and I’m an evangelical, I end up praying a lot more. That’s apparently made my ideological adversaries even more ridiculous.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is now in the process of trying to get the name of a rural road in a Boise, Idaho, suburb changed because it doesn’t recognize how “chickens are individuals.”

The group announced Wednesday that it had sent a letter to the mayor of Caldwell, Idaho, because one of his town’s byways is named Chicken Dinner Road, according to the Idaho Statesman.

It’s worth noting that, as the Statesman reported, “Caldwell city street maps don’t include Chicken Dinner Road, which is located in rural Canyon County.” It gets better.

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“Just like dogs, cats, and human beings, chickens feel pain and fear and value their own lives,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman wrote in her letter to Mayor Garret Nancolas, adding that it should be “one that celebrates chickens as individuals, not as beings to kill, chop up, and label as ‘dinner.’”

Saying she didn’t want to “ruffle any feathers,” Reiman wrote that moves like name changes “have the power to change lives.”

Chickens, she said, are “confined to crowded, filthy sheds with tens of thousands of other birds, where disease, smothering, and heart attacks are common.”

“Then they are violently crammed onto transport trucks for shipment to the slaughterhouse, where they’re shackled and hung upside down, their throats are cut, and they’re immersed in scalding-hot feather-removal tanks — often while they’re still conscious,” Reiman wrote.

Do you think this road's name should be changed?

Except factory farming doesn’t even remotely figure into how the road got its name.

“The story’s too rich to stay quiet, and its central facts are accepted by most: The titular chicken dinner was prepared in the 1930s by Laura Lamb, who lived along the then-rutted road. Other facts are less certain,” the Statesman reported.

“The most popular account has Lamb preparing her famous fried chicken for then-Gov. C. Ben Ross, a family friend, and asking him his opinion of the rough road he’d had to travel to reach her home. Ross told Lamb that if she could get the county to grade the road, he’d get it oiled. She did, then he did.”

Other stories, however, say that it was the county commissioner. Whoever it was, legend has it that signs meant to direct whatever official to Lamb’s house that said “Chicken Dinner” were defaced to say “Lamb’s Chicken Dinner Road.” The rest was history.

Now, the truth of that story may be debatable. But whatever the truth may be, it has nothing to do with factory farming and it beats renaming the road to something “that celebrates chickens as individuals.”

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Somewhat unsurprisingly, Mayor Nancolas says the town is going to keep the name.

“When I first received the letter, I thought it was a joke, I literally laughed!” Nancolas wrote on Facebook Wednesday night.

“When I realized the letter was for real, it made me extremely irritated that they would waste our time with such a ridiculous request!! If they had actually done their homework they would have realized that Chicken Dinner Road is not even within Caldwell’s jurisdiction…that being said, even if it was, 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!”

The general consensus was that this was one of PETA’s more offensively ludicrous stunts. The Statesman reported on plenty of responses mocking PETA’s letter with virtually no support mentioned.

This summed up the reaction pretty well:

This is the organization that wants to replace “kill two birds with one stone” with “feed two birds with one scone.”

I can understand that PETA’s strategy has always been to get attention where they can and hope that public opinion eventually follows. The problem is when increasing desperation leads to increasingly absurd attention-grabbing stunts.

Some of them have even crossed the line into repugnancy, like the time where they used a Google doodle on the birthday of “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin to attack the late nature show host and conservationist.

The rest of the time they end up just being ridiculous. Voltaire would be thrilled.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture