Protest targets McDonald's in East Baltimore

Posted at 5:36 PM, Sep 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-25 17:36:11-04
Just outside the McDonald's on Pulaski Highway, a sign invites you to try the buttermilk chicken, but the battered six-foot bird standing beneath it Friday certainly isn't the kind of thing you'd want to find in your Happy Meal.
"Abbey the Abused Chicken has a slit throat, she has a broken wing and she has an abdomen covered in sores and boils... and this is the reality faced by millions of chickens who are tortured by the McDonald's supply chain every single year," said Jeni Haines, the national campaign coordinator for a group calling itself Mercy For Animals.
The protestors maintain they don't mind chicken on the menu.
They just want producers who slaughter them to treat their lives and deaths with dignity.
"A recent Mercy For Animals undercover investigation at a McDonald's chicken nugget supplier in Tyson Contract Farm exposed chickens being beaten with metal clubs, spiked with nails, birds having their heads stepped on and their wings and bodies pulled to break their necks," Haines said.
While the mangled mascot and graphic signs of chickens grabbed plenty of attention, many people appeared to be confused by their message.
"McDonalds is disgusting,” Jasmine Owens said. “They feed us artificial, infected, disgusting food, and it's not even food.  The hamburgers are not ham.  They're filler."
"It's chicken.  Everybody eats chicken,” Ricky Elias said. “Why all the sudden is there a problem with the chicken?  Really?  What else are we gonna eat?"
"I don't want to end up buying chicken products from out of these fast food restaurants and then end up having a health problem on down the line," said Harvey Turner.
Turner told ABC2 News he does eat chicken from McDonald's, including chicken McNuggets, chicken patties and chicken sandwiches.
Supporters say it's a noble enough cause to draw more than 200,000 signatures on petitions calling for change even if occasionally their message may miss its mark. 
"I’ve seen that there was some sort of flu or something that the birds were going through," Owens said.
"Chicken,” Elias said. “I mean come on.  Really?"
McDonald's issued a statement saying, "We believe treating animals with care and respect is an integral part of a responsible supply chain and find the behavior depicted in this video to be completely unacceptable.  We support Tyson Foods' decision to terminate their contract with this farmer."

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