Wendy's on alert as PETA picks target

NORFOLK, VA: Last week's demonstration in front of a Vienna, VA

Wendy's was a warning shot from the People for Ethical Treatment of

Animals (PETA) to Wendy's hamburger chain.

After pressuring Burger King and McDonald's to implement more humane

animal handling standards - and claiming a success - PETA will decide in

the next six to eight weeks which company it will target next to meet or

beat PETA animal welfare standards.

Bruce Friedrich, PETA's vegan campaign coordinator, told PRWeek that

possible targets include Chick-Fil-A, Popeye's Chicken and Church's

Chicken fast food outlets; Kroger and Safeway grocery store chains and

Wal-Mart superstores.

For the past five-and-a-half months, PETA labeled Burger King as "Murder

King," calling upon the company to agree to or improve upon the same

animal standards McDonald's acquiesced after 11 months of PETA protest

ending in September 2000.

The turning point in the Burger King protest, Friedrich said, was when a

sympathetic franchisee leaked Friedrich a list of all Burger King

franchisees via e-mail. Friedrich subsequently had celebrities Alec

Baldwin and Richard Pryor sign a letter to every Burger King franchisee

worldwide asking them to demand that the company's Miami headquarters

institute more humane animal handling.

Friedrich also kept the pressure on with close to 1,000 demonstrations

in every US state and more than 15 countries.

"When you have people who own Burger King restaurants saying, 'Hey,

we've been tarred and feathered against our will,' that's clearly

something people at headquarters have to listen to, even more than the

people who eat in Burger King restaurants," said Friedrich.

Citing a peacefully brokered agreement with Tricon Global Restaurants,

which owns Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell, Friedrich

said he does not want to mount another protest. "We would prefer not to

use our resources on this kind of campaign and achieve our results

through negotiations," he said.

Wendy's VP of communications, Denny Lynch, said he believes his company

will be the next PETA target, but said to his knowledge the company has

not and will not meet with the activist group.

"Our approach is to share with the news media our existing animal

welfare program, which we've had in effect since the early 1990s," said

Lynch, who said Wendy's already meets the standards adopted by

McDonald's and Burger King.

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