A teenager dressed in a giant chicken suit is protesting outside KFC in Trowbridge because of his concerns about intensive poultry farming methods.
Olly Tyler, 16, of Westwood, feels that factory-farmed hens are poorly treated, so will dress up as one of the birds to stand outside the Spitfire Retail Park restaurant all weekend in protest.
Olly, a former John of Gaunt pupil who volunteers at Oxfam in Trowbridge, said: “I’ve always been interested in animal welfare. I heard how they treated their chickens years ago, when I found a site by PETA (an animal rights pressure group).
“I looked into it again recently, because Trowbridge got a KFC, and then decided to protest outside.”
He says he is appalled by the cramped conditions that chickens can be kept in, inside large sheds, and also has concerns about the slaughtering process. He has ordered a £600 custom-made chicken suit, which he paid for and had shipped over from France.
He said: “No-one else wanted to help. My parents went along with the idea, probably thinking I’d never get the money together, but then I got some money for my exam grades and I used that.”
He plans to be outside the fast food restaurant from 10am-5pm on both Saturday and Sunday, handing out material about animal welfare. He has also informed police about the protest.
Olly said: “There’s flyers, banners, signs, there’s basically anything you can think of. Hopefully, the chicken suit will attract enough attention. I think I can get my word to more people.”
He added that he will not be able to speak much to KFC customers, because the chicken’s head muffles his voice, but he is confident the suit will do the trick after using it at a petrol protest last month.
He said: “I have been in one other protest, which was in Bristol with Greenpeace, protesting about Shell drilling in the Arctic. Although my costume did not have anything to do with the Arctic, it made people smile.”
A KFC spokesman said: “At KFC, we are committed to poultry welfare and we use only reputable suppliers, that are the same as the UK’s leading supermarkets and restaurants, which meet or exceed UK and EU regulations on quality and welfare.
“We regularly audit their performance, to ensure standards are consistently met, and last year we became the first quick service restaurant to gain Red Tractor certification. “This means that all our Original Recipe chicken on the bone is sourced from Red Tractor certified British suppliers and we continue to focus on making even more improvements in this area.”