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July 24, 2013

Harry Bliss-Designed PETA Chicken Rebuffed by City of Salem

Chicken-statue405tallDon't you hate it when you design a giant chicken and then can't put it to good use?

Burlington artist/cartoonist Harry Bliss, better known for his work in the New Yorker, numerous children's books and, we hope, in Seven Days, designed a chicken for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The fully realized, 3-D fowl was ostensibly to be used for protests against, say, Kentucky Fried Chicken.

In Salem, Ore., PETA hoped to use its "crippled chicken" as a roadside memorial for hundreds of actual chickens that sadly perished earlier this month when a delivery truck carrying 5400 of them crashed. The driver was speeding and caused the truck to overturn, according to Oregon's, which added:

The statue “would serve as a reminder not only to livestock haulers to take extra precautions with their live cargo but also to city residents that chickens are among the most abused animals on the planet and the best way to try to prevent crashes like this is to go vegan so that chickens don't have to make the trip to the slaughterhouse in the first place,” PETA spokeswoman Shakira Croce said in a news release.

This week, the city and the Oregon Department of Transportation denied the organization the right to install the chicken memorial at the site of the accident. The city and the ODOT determined that the statue — more than five feet tall and weighing 250 pounds — would be "a distraction and safety hazard," wrote KATU.

Joining vegans and fowl fans everywhere, the generally happy, free-range, organic chickens of Vermont have risen up in protest, flapping their useless wings and hanging anti-Salem, anti-ODOT and anti-truck flags outside their coops.

Reached for comment, Bliss acknowledged he knew nothing about this incident, but confirmed that he had designed the chicken for PETA pro bono. 

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