Vegan Protester Divides Internet After Pouring Paint Over KFC Restaurant

A vegan protester in Australia has gone viral, and split viewers, after sharing a video of her throwing red paint on the floor of a KFC outlet.

Known protester Tash Peterson took to a Melbourne KFC location, dressed in abattoir worker clothing, and doused the floor in red paint while playing animal screams. Fellow protesters held screens with videos of animals being slaughtered.

Peterson turned to the counter and poured red paint over it, before speaking into a megaphone about the slaughter of animals for meat. "The world's longest and largest holocaust in history is happening right now in the meat, dairy and egg industries," she said.

"Non-human animals are enslaved in concentration prisons where they are subjected to rape, torture, abuse and mutilation before they're sent to murder factories where they are brutally murdered as babies," she added in the video.

"I protest anywhere that sells meat, dairy, eggs or any other animal products because the flesh and secretions of animals come from victims who were subjected to rape, torture, abuse, enslavement and murder. I like to target particular fast food chains, supermarkets and restaurants to hold companies accountable for profiting from animal abuse. I protested KFC because they are responsible for a chicken holocaust and a mass amount of suffering to non-human animals," Peterson told Newsweek.

"I used the paint to symbolize the blood that non-vegans have on their hands, because each time they choose to consume meat, dairy and eggs, they are paying for someone else's murder. I also knew that something more 'outrageous' and disruptive would grab media attention to put animal rights into public dialogue. This is how social change works," she added.

In just two days since it was posted, the TikTok video has gained over 1.8 million views. It isn't the first time Peterson has gained mass attention for her protests. In May, a video also gained popularity online when she protested inside a seafood restaurant and stood on top of tables.

Following the seafood protest and video, Peterson was served a Barring Notice by Western Australia Police, banning her from entering any licensed venue in Perth, including pubs and restaurants, according to local media. The KFC restaurant is located in Melbourne, in the state of Victoria.

Tash Peterson during her KFC protest
Tash Peterson during her protest at KFC. Tash Peterson

Peterson's latest video received criticism that focused on her choice to pour red paint, with many citing the idea that workers would be the ones left to clean it up.

"Nice, make a mess for the poor workers to have to clean up," commented one TikTok user. "Okay, but they literally just work there," added another.

However, Peterson reassured that workers at the KFC branch were not the ones that cleaned up as she shared a video of one of the protestors mopping up the paint as the police stood nearby. "Don't freak out, we cleaned the mess up," she wrote.

"It's ridiculous that people are offended and angered that I poured fake blood on the ground when the flesh of murder victims are being sold right behind the counter. The fact that these people are more angered about my actions trying to stop animal abuse and murder, but will happily pay someone to slit an animals throat and cause real blood to be all over the ground is insanity," she told Newsweek.

According to Peterson, those concerned about the KFC workers should also be concerned about workers in the animal agriculture industry, as she wrote on Instagram: "Firstly, we cleaned the mess up. Secondly, why are you more outraged by a mess on the floor when there are literally the bodies of murdered babies being sold behind the counter? Chickens who were only six weeks old when they were electrocuted and had their throat slit for an unnecessary KFC meal.

"Even if you are an animal abusing human supremacist, surely you should be more outraged by the workers (mostly refugees) who are exploited and underpaid in slaughterhouses, than some animal rights activists making KFC workers clean up a mess?"

Aside from the potential mess left behind, Peterson's method divided viewers with some for it, and others wholeheartedly against.

"Your protests have turned so many people vegan. The fake blood powerfully symbolises the mass slaughter of sentient animals," wrote one Instagram user, in support of Peterson.

"I've been vegan for five years and I think activism is great, but this could deter people from being vegan and sends the wrong message about our image," wrote one concerned TikTok user.

"What you're doing is not going to spread awareness, it's just going to make people hate you even more," wrote another.

"I receive an influx of criticism, abuse and even death threats on a daily basis for at least 18 months now, so the criticism received on this protest isn't anything new to me. Criticism doesn't bother me at all because I know that I'm on the right side of history and I'm trying to end the animal holocaust. Criticism is only a sign that I'm reaching people with the animal rights message and holding non vegans accountable for being animal abusers. Many people don't want to accept the truth and live in ignorance, so they attack the messenger," said Peterson.

"I've had some people reach out to me saying that my protest has sparked their interest in veganism and have received thousands of messages from people in the past saying that my activism has inspired them to become vegan," she added.

Update 7/06/21 10:24 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include comments from Tash Peterson.