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Oprah's Chicken Giveaway : Philanthropy or Hypocrisy?

Oprah's Chicken Giveaway : Philanthropy or Hypocrisy?

In light of our current financial predicament Oprah Winfrey has decided to do a little something for everyone.  Winfrey announced recently that she, along with KFC, would put some dinner on every table across the country. 

The special promotion allows anyone to sign onto Winfrey’s website between May 5th and 6th and print out a coupon which is good for a 2-piece grilled chicken meal.   Though a free meal is probably a very helpful bonus for families suffering job losses, many are now criticizing Winfrey for her recent KFC promotion.  Most of the criticism is coming from various animal rights group. 

Apparently, the Tyson company is the main supplier of chicken to KFC.  According to a recent article from U.S. News and World Report, Tyson is known to use “controlled animal feeding operations (CAFOs) ? dark and tightly-packed coops where the chickens are often unable to stand up or move.  Many would consider this practice as a type of “factory farming”. 

PETA is expected to show their disappointment with Winfrey’s latest promotional partnership with KFC.  PETA recently honored Winfrey with their 2008 “Person of the Year” award.  After Winfrey devoted an entire episode of her talk show to uncovering the abuse that goes on using “factory farming” techniques PETA’s president, Ingrid E. Newkirk, was quoted as saying that Winfrey used her “powerful voice to defend those without one.” 

On top of harsh criticism from animal rights activists, it is also being reported that due to heavy web traffic many people have had trouble obtaining the coupons.  And redeeming them in the stores has been tough for some as well.

What do you think of the controversy surrounding Oprah Winfrey’s decision to offer free KFC meals nationwide?

Do you think the criticism coming from animal rights groups is warranted?

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  • activemom By activemom
    05.08.09  

    Obvious marketing scam? Business people don't do anything that isn't in their best interest? That's a pretty jaded outlook on this. On Good Morning America, they're tracking how many pounds of food are being donated to food banks across the country as part of their efforts. Most of these donations come from big food companies like Uncle Ben's who donated to the Mobile, Ala. food bank earlier this week. Can't a company do well by doing good? Does the fact that they're a for-profit company negate the benefit they're providing? Yes, it's in KFC's best interest for people to try their new item (I believe a healthier alternative to their fried chicken), but it costs them real money to provide this many free meals. Isn't that what this very site is about in many ways - an opportunity for companies to introduce and sample their new products and get feedback from people by providing free product and coupons?

  • MyEmptyCanvas By MyEmptyCanvas
    05.08.09  

    I got to use 2 out of the 4 coupons that I was allowed to print. The other 2 I had to get rain checks for last night. The chicken was good.. tasted more like baked chicken to me, but it was free so no complaints. It was easier to print the coupon earlier in the day before Oprah's show officially announced it because I had no problems. I have no comments on the PETA stuff... but all in all, if animals are mistreated prior to death, that is wrong.

  • shellgirl1961 By shellgirl1961
    05.08.09  

    I can see both sides. The way that Tyson treats the chickens is not right and they should come up with a better and more ethically way of doing it. But at the same time, this promotion did help people, just not sure it helped the ones that it was aimed at. Like in another comment, if you are poor and without a home, how would you get the coupon?

  • DownloadJunkie By DownloadJunkie
    05.08.09  

    Well, we all have to eat. Those complaining can fast. End of story.

  • karenhop50 By karenhop50
    05.08.09  

    I watched he show and got the coupons but have been unable to use them. I agree that it can be a win, win situation. Treat the chickens ethically and then offer everyone a chicken dinner. They took our printouts and said they will mail the free coupons, we'll see.

  • jasminebrianandjr By jasminebrianandjr
    05.09.09  

    " Can't this be a win-win? Can't Tyson both raise chickens ethically and KFC can also give away free meals?" You would raise a chicken ethically if it were going to be a pet! It CANNOT be win-win if in the end the chicken is going to end up at KFC...LOL... Anyway...regardless whether oprah gave the coupons away, or she was being used as PR...this is a great deed and should not be criticized!

  • amok67 By amok67
    05.09.09  

    It took me an hour to get the coupon. As we all know now, it caused riots and chaos! I wonder how they will still honor the million or so coupons that they are going to reissue?

  • snowyt By snowyt
    05.09.09  

    If this is to help people in need those people may not have the ability to print the coupons in the first place-- Idea was good- but didnt work-

  • agaphmou By agaphmou
    05.09.09  

    Oprah did a good deed,she had good intentions.I don't know why people are putting her down.This was for the new kfc grilled chicken,much healthier than the fried version.Anyone without a pc or printer could use a friends,print them at school.work,relative's house or whatever.

  • villahills3 By villahills3
    05.09.09  

    Please, Oprah and KFC did a good thing...IF what PETA says is true and that is a big IF...then the problem is with Tyson...deal with them and leave someone doing a good thing alone!

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