Oprah Gives Out Free KFC in Most Hypocritical Move Yet | Civil Eats

Oprah Gives Out Free KFC in Most Hypocritical Move Yet


Perhaps it was all just too much, too kind and too ahead of the curve, all that work she had done recently to expose what truly goes on for chickens and other animals in the factory farm setting. Because now Oprah has decided to bolster one of America’s worst offenders when it comes to support for factory farming, KFC, by giving away two pieces of chicken to every human in America.

It may seem harmless: a mass market “they want it, so I’m giving it to them” kind of campaign. But because Oprah has marketed herself as one who cares about animals, even getting a “Person of the Year” award last year from PETA, this KFC campaign is a serious disappointment to say the least.

This is because KFC buys their meat from Tyson, which is the largest chicken processor in the United States and is known for supporting a conglomeration of chicken CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations). Inside these daylight-free hellholes, chickens are crammed so tightly together they can barely move. Worse, if we were to grow as fast as these broilers are bred to grow, we’d be 350 pounds by the time we were 2 years old. This is largely because these chickens are bred to have more breast meat (because that’s what the consumer wants), so many of them can’t even stand up. On top of that they produce so much shit that many farm workers get asthma just doing their job — and that is just the workers on the farm. Most of the Tyson workers spend their entire day on one part of the production line, slitting throats, de-feathering or removing intestines for hours on end. Yum. (video made by one worker, be warned, it is quite grotesque)

Just a recap: in order to have what we want to eat, we have created little monstrosities, which then get essentially tortured before routine killings performed by ill and disgruntled workers. And Oprah is encouraging this practice to continue!

If she would have taken the time to think about all this, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she would see that encouraging these practices is not in line with the Eckhardt Tolle, Live Your Best Life, “We will all be judged on how we treat the least among us” persona she sells on her popular television show.  Individual choices do matter, especially the choices of those with enough money to buy every person in the United States two pieces of chicken.

We’ll bring the news to you.

Get the weekly Civil Eats newsletter, delivered to your inbox.

If I were Oprah, I’d have struck a better deal with the fried chicken hawking establishment: She could have told KFC to change their buying practices, and only serve free-range chicken, and THEN give away free chicken. Had she done that, producers would start to see the value in letting their chickens outside to scratch the soil, eat grubs and peck grass.

Thank you for being a loyal reader.

We rely on you. Become a member today to read unlimited stories.

Paula Crossfield is a founder and the Editor-at-large of Civil Eats. She is also a co-founder of the Food & Environment Reporting Network. Her reporting has been featured in The Nation, Gastronomica, Index Magazine, The New York Times and more, and she has been a contributing producer at The Leonard Lopate Show on New York Public Radio. An avid cook and gardener, she currently lives in Oakland. Read more >

Like the story?
Join the conversation.

  1. The good news is that Oprah's big boo boo is spreading like a virus in cyberspace.

    My blog post on how Grilled KFC can be hazardous to your health is informative but not too harsh.

    Sean Croxton's Re-think KFC You Tube post really rips into all that is wrong with this food recommendation.
  2. Oprah's not a beacon of light for America, really??? She's just a business woman? I had NO IDEA! !!! And I highly doubt KFC would give away free chicken after being forced to cut production for ethical reasons.

    And I'm an animal lover. But it's so naive to expect anything more from Oprah in this case.
    • pcrossfield
      Why does she get a pass for being a business woman? I would still like for her to maintain some consistency of message.
  3. I have loved Oprah and have been a loyal fan since college. I am extremely disappointed in this decision on her part and will no longer watch her show.

    It's not *just* about the factory farms. They are also using soybean and cottonseed oil from genetically modified crops.

    Please watch this video:


    Go on Twitter and tell Oprah you don't believe in supporting factory farms and GMOs. Just type in @Oprah and use the hash tag #oprahkfc
  4. The sides at KFC could be healthy. They used to serve collard greens, red beans and rice, and cornbread. All of these could be prepared with organic ingredients (good luck) or at least with less salt, less preservatives, less artificial ingredients.

    That Oprah is giving away 2 pieces of fried chicken to every American disappoints me. I'm not accepting any, and I won't let my kids have it either.

    Google Mark Bittman and fried chicken - his recipe is easy. Do it yourself - much healthier.
  5. A complete travesty. Oprah has the ability to do so very much good. it's just maddening when she pulls something like this.
  6. pcrossfield
    Check out this great video explaining what is in KFC's food:



  7. kev501
    "The Oprah Effect" strikes again! KFC isn't the first to be overwhelmed by an Oprah mention. CNBC is airing a documentary about her power and influence called "The Oprah Effect" on Thursday, May 28th 9p ET | 10P PT.

    Check out web extras at http://OprahEffect.cnbc.com
  8. Tony
    Oh Oprah..this is just too much...I'm tracking her now through Trackle

More from

Animal Ag


Snow Geese fly over Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo credit: Yiming Chen, Getty Images)

Bird Flu May Be Driven By This Overlooked Factor

In this week’s Field Report, we examine what happens when industrial animal operations encroach on wild waterfowl habitat, plus a new bill that supports wildlife on private lands, and gear that could protect farmworkers from avian flu.


Changing How We Farm Might Protect Wild Mammals—and Fight Climate Change

A red fox in a Connecticut farm field. (Photo credit: Robert Winkler, Getty Images)

Across Farm Country, Fertilizer Pollution Impacts Not Just Health, but Water Costs, Too

An Illinois farmer fertilizes a field before planting. (Photo credit: Scott Olson, Getty Images)

New School Meal Standards Could Put More Local Food on Students’ Lunch Trays

A student at Ashford Elementary School in Houston fills up on local food in his school lunch. (USDA Photo by Lance Cheung)

Should Bioplastics Be Allowed in Organic Compost?

A curbside green waste bin in San Francisco, California, collects compostable plates and packaging for use in organic compost. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)