On January 18, Kentucky State Rep. Charles Siler introduced a bill that would designate Kentucky Fried Chicken (specifically, Original Recipe) as the state’s "official picnic food." The provision itself is just one sentence, but the preamble offers some interesting details:
WHEREAS, Harland Sanders opened his first restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky in 1930; and
WHEREAS, Kentucky Governor Ruby Laffoon made Harland Sanders an honorary Kentucky Colonel in recognition of his contributions to the state’s cuisine in 1936; and
WHEREAS, Colonel Sanders’s "Original Recipe" fried chicken was first cooked in Colonel Sanders’s restaurant in 1940; and
WHEREAS, the first "Kentucky Fried Chicken" franchise restaurant selling the Original Recipe chicken was opened in 1952; and
WHEREAS, today, the Original Recipe chicken is sold in more than 11,000 Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in more than 80 countries and territories around the world, bringing recognition and fame to the Commonwealth of Kentucky;
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:
SECTION 1. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 2 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:
Original Recipe Kentucky Fried Chicken is designated the official picnic food of Kentucky.
The background facts in the "whereas" clauses are a bit of a mixed bag. It’s good to know that KFC actually did get its start in Kentucky, although it’s a little disillusioning to learn that Col. Sanders didn’t actually serve in the military.
Perhaps predictably, the bill is being opposed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA claims that the chickens KFC serves are abused, even tortured, although it wasn’t clear from the report whether PETA claims KFC is the one doing the torturing. (In a related story, Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused to confirm or deny that chickens had been waterboarded, but said that if they were he wasn’t sure if that was torture or not anyway).
"If the state legislature moves forward with this one," said PETA vice president Bruce Friedrich, "then they should change Kentucky’s state bird from the cardinal to the debeaked, crippled, scalded, diseased, dead chicken."