Call it an end to Kentucky Fried Cruelty.
After five years of protests, KFC Canada and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have cut a deal that will see the Canadian chain improve its chicken slaughter conditions and introduce vegan menu options.
Yes, vegan chicken at KFC.
The fake chicken, known as unchicken, has been around for years and is available in a handful of restaurants and stores in Canada. Most of the fake meats are soy-based and fair game for vegans. Some may contain eggs, but are meat-free.
There are some Canadian unchicken manufacturers (one calls it "Chick'n"), but a selection of the mock meats is not easy to find. Many Ontarians turn to an unusual supplier: the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
The church offers a range of fake meats, including chicken, burgers, hot dogs and bacon. Adventists do not eat shellfish or pork and many strive for vegetarianism as part of a healthier lifestyle. They sell the unchicken (frozen, canned or dried) to anyone, and it's "very, very popular," said Halsey Peat, a church spokesman.
The mock-meat market remains small, but with the KFC deal it's about to get a whole lot bigger.
"It means more choice for people who are vegetarian and more options for people thinking about it," said David Alexander, director of operations for the Toronto Vegetarian Association.
PETA will now call off its Kentucky Fried Cruelty campaign in Canada, which was supported by many celebrities including Canadians Pamela Anderson and Ryan Gosling. KFC Canada pledged to buy from suppliers who gas their chickens, what PETA calls "the least cruel form of poultry slaughter ever developed."
PETA will continue to press KFC in the United States and elsewhere to change its slaughter practices - and sell unchicken, as 461 KFC Canadian chain stores have agreed to do.
"KFC is sort of taking a bit of leadership on the issue," said Mr. Alexander, a vegetarian for two years. "We've moved beyond the era of the veggie burger, I think."