PETA's Pothole Wars:

Kentucky Fried Chicken has offered to fill potholes at its own expense in select cities -- but there's a catch. KFC wants to stamp the filled holes with a temporary "Refreshed by KFC" logo. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals objects to this, arguing that any city that accepts the offer is supporting "Kentucky Fried Cruelty." So PETA is offering to fill potholes too. If cities decline KFC's offer, and accept PETA money instead, it will fill potholes and stamp them with the words "KFC Tortures Animals."

Sounds fair. How is this any different than PETA advertising on a bus?
4.4.2009 12:18pm
Stormy Dragon (mail) (www):
Given that torturing animals is generally a crime, isn't their a risk of a libel lawsuit here?
4.4.2009 12:29pm
Pizza Snob:
Great! Free pothole filling for all!

City leaders would be wise to pick KFC; if the company flakes on the agreement, or even comes up short, I'd bet on PETA being agreeable to picking up the slack. I somehow doubt it would work that way if you reversed it.
4.4.2009 12:33pm
Actually, if it's analogous to a bus then the city cannot discriminate and must allow both (and any others) to advertise on their potholes on equal terms, at least in the first circuit.
4.4.2009 12:39pm
Mike Wilson (mail) (www):

"We Helped" vs. "They're Evil"
4.4.2009 12:52pm
My solution, adopt a policy that who ever fills a pothole first gets to stamp it. You will have roving repair crews scowering the city in a race to patch potholes... everyone wins!
4.4.2009 12:54pm
Well, PETA's slogan is true from their prospective, almost. People are animals, PETA people (re: animals) are vegans and don't eat chicken, fried chicken is very enticing (some say KFC's is finger liking good). It can be torture to refrain from eating fried chicken, therefore KFC tortures PETA animal people with their tasty fried chicken.
4.4.2009 1:09pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
I too was wondering about the possible libel issues with such a move by PETA.
4.4.2009 1:16pm
Sam H (mail):
So People Eating Tasty Animals might really do some good for once?

My solution, adopt a policy that who ever fills a pothole first gets to stamp it. You will have roving repair crews scowering the city in a race to patch potholes... everyone wins!

YES! a great idea, but lets expand it: You fix a bridge (to specs), you get to name it.
4.4.2009 1:16pm
Daryl Herbert (www):
KFC is Pepsi.

This is just more of their campaign to sell junk food based on Obama's electoral victory.
4.4.2009 2:24pm
What are the liability implications? If a pothole is repaired and an accident happens at the same location at some later time, can the victim sue KFC or PETA for an improper repair? Or does the city take on the liability? Or do you sue both the city and KFC/PETA?
4.4.2009 2:27pm
KFC isn't Pepsi anymore. It was spun off in 1997 as Tricon Global Restaurants and they changed their name to YUM! in 2002. Different stock, different ownership.

YUM! is also Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Long John Silvers - so your point on promoting junk food is true. Funny that citys are busy taking out fast food around schools and getting rid of vending machines, but selling ad space on potholes (I can't believe I just wrote that!) to KFC is OK.
4.4.2009 2:32pm
Why do I feel like either of these possibilities should be the basis for the stoner comedy of the summer?

And clearly the KFC option is way less risky for any decision-maker than the PETA option. Mike Wilson's comment has it dead on.
4.4.2009 2:50pm
theobromophile (www):
I'm a vegetarian and think this is beyond stupid, but, then again, PETA is involved, and those people make me want to eat a swordfish sea kitten just to spite them.

Methinks that some self-respecting carnivore should put together an anti-PETA-pothole-filling campaign. It would be kind of like one of those relays, where you pay someone for every mile they run, except here, you would agree to eat a chicken for every pothole filled and stamped by PETA. Alternatively, KFC could run some special, wherein every customer would get a free wing or thigh for every PETA pothole.
4.4.2009 3:09pm
Sarcastro (www):
[I doubt PETA actually has the funds to back this up. They really just want the headlines.]
4.4.2009 3:12pm
Helen2 (mail):
It's difficult for me to imagine how a driver could read anything stamped on a filled pothole.
4.4.2009 3:14pm
rosetta's stones:
The article says Cleveland turned down the KFC/PETA cash. Those politicians should be impeached.

And I can't believe the lawyers' first thought here is liability. The work is being done by the cities, the donors merely create a fund. Who cares if somebody gets offended because a pothole repair gets chalk-marked with a slogan, which will disappear after the first rush hour?
4.4.2009 3:30pm
rgr, depending on how long "some time later" is liability could fall on the contractor who actually does the patching for failing to put the patch in right or (later on) on the city for failing to maintain their road properly. If a private engineer was involved in designing the patch (not likely, given that patching potholes is the sort of thing where any engineering work needed would most likely be handled in-house by the local Public Works agency or DOT), they could be liable if they'd failed in their duty of care in designing the patch - but that duty of care is mostly a matter of following standard practice and complying with the applicable standards (AASHTO Green Book, MUTCD, state DOT guidelines, etc.). I'm not sure of any way KFC or PETA would be liable, unless they'd signed a contract agreeing to indemnify and defend the contractor or city.

Also, I'm not certain what the pothole repair could do to contribute to a future accident, so I don't know how liability would arise to begin with. If the road was improperly patched and a wash-out happened because of it, and somebody hit the washed-out area and wrecked, that could impart liability, but otherwise, I think there's no way a patched pothole could contribute to a crash.
4.4.2009 4:54pm
Leonie Alemann (mail):
Pot. Kettle. Black.

PETA kills animals, too; they are "morally" opposed to the concept of domesticated animals, and think that our pets should be turned out to live "wild and free" or euthenized because their lives (being fed, cared for, provided with safety and medical care and affectionate companionship) is such an abomination that death is preferable.

I wouldn't trust them to fill potholes; they'd probably fill them with something "humane" like foam rubber: useless for it's stated purpose in filling the pothole, but soft and cushy if you trip and fall on it while crossing the street.

4.4.2009 7:58pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I believe in ethically treating animals.

For example, once a year, my family buys half a side of beef from a local farmer who raises his cows in a way we find to be humane. Plus the beef tastes better too.

We also order lamb, chicken, eggs, etc. from local sources where we can decide the animals involved are treated humanely.

I have absolutely NO regard for PETA though. Most of the domesticated animals have evolved in the course of domestication considerably. They are no longer the same animals which were once wild. This is the case of cattle, sheep (wool is not possible from wild sheep), horses, dogs, cats, pigs, etc. As long as we animals are properly cared for, we should continue to keep them.

BTW, one of the most interesting cultures I have read about regarding domesticated animals are the Botai Tersek culture of the late stone age in the Pontic-Caspian Steppes. This culture seems to provide the first evidence of horseback riding but they were hunter-gatherers and so probably originally got horses and riding from elsewhere. What is noteworthy is that they probably ate mostly wild horse, which they hunted on horseback using organic bits (horsehair, leather, etc).
4.4.2009 8:21pm
Waldo (mail):
If KFC or PETA or anyone else wants to pay to fill potholes, let them have at it. From the article, it doesn't look like they're actually filling any potholes. They're just willing to pay for the city to fill them in exchange for the right to spray paint their logo on the pavement.

I also don't see a problem with liability for an improper repair. After all, we're talking about filling a pothole here; this isn't exactly complicated. But I live in RI, and if people could sue for a poor quality road repair, we'd have a lot more lawyers around here.

Then again, someone might come up with a really catchy or funny ad to paint on the pavement. That could create a hazard since drivers would be distracted by...watching the road. Oh, never mind.

Of course, the vegan PETA members could extract their revenge on KFC for torturing them by making tasty chicken. Repeatedly driving over the ads would have the symbolic effect of rising up against their oppressors, and in the real world, might actually wear down the paint.

But wait. That might contribute to global warming. Therefore, Cleveland's right. Any advertisements on potholes should be banned.
4.4.2009 9:00pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
BTW, next April 1, who here wants to join me in starting PETP: People for the Ethical Treatment of Plants. The platform will be:

Plants are not ours to eat.
Plants are not ours to wear.
Plants are not ours to build housing out of.
Plants are not for entertainment.

End Plant Domestication Now!
4.5.2009 12:32am
Vermando (mail) (www):
This sounded like a great idea until those last three words. Can always count on those guys to screw things up.
4.5.2009 7:45am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Alleging that PETA's Norfolk, Virginia animal shelter kills some 95% of the animals turned over it (2200 in 2008), there is a movement to have the state of Virginia classify it as a slaughterhouse.
4.5.2009 10:48am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Left off the conclusion: KFC could stamp the pothole repairs: "PETA kills animals."
4.5.2009 10:54am
Interested Party:
Im less excited with the idea of KFC paying into a fund for the city to use to fill potholes than I am with the idea of a private corporation filling potholes. You could probably double the budget of most cities and not see double the results.

A pile of asphalt doesnt cost much. Labor is the major cost. Couldnt KFC just go around filling potholes with their own truck and paint them as they go?
4.5.2009 1:48pm
R Gould-Saltman (mail):
Who knew that there was any interest in advertising on pot-hole patching?

I'm generally opposed to the selling off of every last square inch of public space to advertisers, but considering that folks'll be driving over these, and SOME force caused there to be a pothole there to begin with, and will probably do so again, this doesn't seem terribly intrusive...(I remember a plan, a couple of decades ago, by Coke, IIRC, to pay Santa Monica and the State of California for substantial additional beach sand-cleaning and sand-rolling, in exchange for permitting them to cut the big sand-roller which followed the rake so that the sand would be stamped with Coke logos all along the beach, large enough to be seen from passing planes. THAT offended me...)
4.5.2009 3:03pm

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