Recently, Popeyes launched "Emotional Support Chicken," a chicken-shaped carrier that allows passengers traveling through Philadelphia International Airport to bring fried chicken aboard their flights. The purpose of the "Emotional Support Chicken", per Popeyes, is "to provide a good-hearted laugh most need to get through stressful holiday air travel." Not everyone is laughing, though.
PETA, for one, has taken major issue with the carriers. The organization tweeted a photo of its own version of the "Emotional Support Chicken" carrier, with a very sad looking chicken and a different message on the box. This one says, "This Chicken Needs Emotional Support."
The box also says, "She had no comfort or nourishment during her incredibly stressful life. Like all Popeyes chickens, she was abused and killed and constantly restricted-never able to roam or fly. Popeyes is responsible for the slaughter of millions of chickens per year."
PETA says the carriers prove that Popeyes isn't "above mocking mental illness AND animals who died gruesome deaths." Other Twitter users have also condemned the chain for the "support" carriers. One person wrote, "While the rights of disabled people who fly with assistance animals keeps being challenged by airline companies, a business decided to add to the fodder by making fun of it", and in an additional tweet added: "This is not funny. It belittles the reason disabled people have assistance animals."
This is not funny. It belittles the reason disabled people have assistance animals. https://t.co/gvuWjBO23k- Amanda Levitt (@FatBodyPolitics) December 19, 2018
Another Twitter user tagged Popeyes, saying, "thanks for providing a case study in ableism as a gimmick for capitalism."
Hey, @PopeyesChicken, thanks for providing a case study in ableism as a gimmick for capitalism.- Shannon Dingle🎄BeLL RoCK! (@ShannonDingle) December 19, 2018
Also, CHANGE THIS PLAN. It’s an awful one that makes light of the real support needs of individuals whose psychological conditions are already stigmatized.https://t.co/yZPukb54gh
A petition on Care2, "the world's largest community for good", is calling for Popeyes to apologize to the "disability community" for the "Emotional Support Chicken." So far, the petition has over 3,500 supporters of a 10,000 goal. The description quotes Popeyes' chief marketing officer, Hope Diaz, who said that holiday travel can be "frustrating."
"You know what's frustrating, Hope? Living in a world where people make fun of emotional support animals, who provide a vital service to their human partners, whether they're furred or feathered," Care2 writes.
"This 'joke' definitely doesn't have wings, and it should be withdrawn from circulation with an apology to the disability community, which is constantly fighting stigma on the subject of emotional support animals." Care2 also asserts that Popeyes should donate to an organization that improves farmworkers and poultry processors lives or a mental health advocacy group.
We reached out to Popeyes regarding the backlash of the "Emotional Support Chicken", and we will update as we hear back.
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