Weekly ESA News Report December 24th: Popeye’s Emotional Support Chicken PR Stunt

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popeyes emotional support chickenThere has been uproar from both those suffering from mental illness and animal rights groups this week, with a questionable PR stunt from a major fast-food chain leaving many offended and incredulous at the insensitive marketing ploy. What exactly happened? We recap below.

Popeye’s Releases ‘Emotional Support Chicken’ Packaging in Off-Tasting PR Stunt

Fast-food fried chicken company Popeye’s has appalled animal rights activists and mental health campaigners alike, with a publicity stunt of questionable taste this week. The restaurant chain has released promotional boxes for their meals which feature a chicken shape and text describing the Louisiana-style fried chicken as ’emotional support chicken’.

The official statement from the Popeye’s marketing team made an attempt to minimize the mocking nature of the packaging.

“We appreciate how comforting emotional support animals are and wanted to create our own version,” said Hope Diaz, chief marketing officer of the Louisiana-style chicken restaurants. “The good news is that our emotional support chicken is permitted to fly without any restrictions.”

But animal rights groups, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), were not impressed, launching their own interpretation of the advertising material, featuring a sad looking chicken and a rebuttal to the text featured in Popeye’s own ad.

The text on the PETA version reads:

“This chicken needs emotional support. She had no comfort or nourishment during her incredibly stressful life. Like all Popeyes chickens, she was abused and killed and constantly restricted — never able to roam or fly. Popeyes is responsible for the slaughter of millions of chickens per year.”

PETA also responded to the fried chicken giant on Twitter with a scathing comment, pointing out the realities of their advert.

“#Popeyes is selling boxes of dead ’emotional support chickens’ for the holidays, proving they’re not above mocking mental illness AND animals who died gruesome deaths. This is what the box would look like if it told the truth about what goes into their food,” reps for PETA wrote on Dec. 19.

emotional support animal Dogue de Bordeaux hugging esa owner with panic disorder

CertaPet’s Thoughts

Here at Certapet, we believe that emotional support animals are an essential tool for those living with mental illness. Belittling any of those who use emotional support animals for legitimate mental illness reasons is sure to cause a public response, however ethically, it’s unfair to mock individuals in actual need. We urged and encouraged for positive attention for ESA owners and their emotional support animals whether that be a dog or cat. Getting an ESA is serious business and should be treated as so.

If you are thinking about getting an emotional support animal, don’t be put off by the bad behavior of a fried chicken corporation. CertaPet makes the process of getting an ESA letter quick and simple! Simply start by taking our free online 5-minute pre-screening, and if your answers indicate that you may qualify for an ESA, we will connect you with a licensed mental health professional and you could have your ESA letter in as little as 48 hrs!

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