Popeyes Wings It With New Emotional Support Chicken

by Rudy Sanchez on 12/21/2018 | 2 Minute Read

Emotional Support Animals (ESA) provide therapeutic comfort for individuals with mental illness or emotional disorders. Often they are small dogs, but not necessarily so. Unlike service animals, ESAs aren't trained to perform specific tasks like seeing-eye dogs.

While ESAs aren't allowed in many businesses, owners of these animals are generally authorized to travel in-cabin and without additional fees in the US thanks to the Air Carrier Act with some exceptions; airlines can impose restrictions as to what kind of animals are allowed, require the animals not smell bad, and also be up to date with their vaccinations . While many people have a legitimate need for emotional support, the ESA exception has been known to be abused by pet owners.

The number of purported ESAs on commercial flights has jumped 74% from 2016 to 2017  and the abuse has led to an industry-wide tightening down of rules regarding these support animals, including banning exotic animals such as reptiles and amphibians, farm animals like goats, and requiring documentation from a health professional that the animal is indeed an ESA.

Popeyes chicken has come up with a solution that won’t run afoul of these new rules. Popeyes Emotional Support Chicken isn’t an actual bird, but rather a limited edition box made to look like a chicken with a vest similar to those worn by pets easily purchased on Amazon that are purportedly ESAs.

“We know holiday travel can be frustrating, and there's no better way to ease stress than with a box of delicious Popeyes fried chicken and a good laugh," said Hope Diaz, CMO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, via a press release.

Not everyone shares Ms. Diaz’s sense of humor, however, including PETA. “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,” says PETA via twitter.

If fried chicken tenders alleviate the mental anguish you may suffer from while being cooped up in a jet this holiday season, Popeyes Emotional Support Chicken is available at the Philadelphia airport, while supplies last.

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