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Protesting Denny’s Cruelty: Chicago’s Weekend of Actions

Last weekend, advocates gathered in Chicago to challenge extreme confinement in Denny’s supply chain. The events unfolded over two days, featuring a powerful protest outside a Denny’s diner and a booth at a plant-based event.
November 7, 2023 Updated: January 29, 2024
Dennys Protest in Chicago November Dennys Protest in Chicago November

This past weekend, protesters gathered in the bustling heart of Chicago to take action for animals. They gathered for a demonstration outside a local Denny’s restaurant on Saturday, followed by an Animal Equality booth at Sunday’s Lucha Vegan event.

The protest, spearheaded by Animal Equality, was a direct response to Denny’s failure to eliminate extreme confinement in its supply chain. Over a decade ago, the chain promised to phase out gestation crates for pregnant pigs, which notoriously restrict these animals from turning around or taking more than a single step forward. Instead, Denny’s chose to quietly remove this promise from its website.

…Pigs feel pain, they feel fear, they feel misery, they feel their confinement, and I would not want to live like that. I don’t think anyone else would want to, so why are we doing this to other sentient creatures?

Chicago Protester

Over a dozen protesters converged in the Windy City, their banners and posters capturing diners’ attention. Some stenciled the pavement with chalk paint, leaving messages that read, “Denny’s: Always open for cruelty.” As the Denny’s manager attempted to redirect customers to a side entrance away from the demonstration, passersby stopped to express their support for pregnant pigs. 

I’m here because cheap bacon is not worth anyone spending their entire life in a cage.

Chicago Protester

The owner of this particular Denny’s restaurant, Dave Kahre, sits on the board of Denny’s Franchisee Association and Supply Chain Committee. However, Kahre has remained unresponsive to consumers’ demands. He has chosen not to engage with protesters or use his influence to eliminate extreme confinement in Denny’s supply chain. 

…Like, spending your whole pregnancy strapped in an airplane seat. Denny’s can do better, and we have to make sure they do better.

Chicago Protester

The protest was followed by Sunday’s Lucha Vegan event, where Animal Equality offered its 360-degree virtual reality experience to attendees. This immersive experience granted visitors a rare glimpse into the realities of factory farming. Animal Equality representatives then spoke with attendees about how they could take digital action for animals in Denny’s supply chain. 

As they made their way through the event, attendees also had the opportunity to explore plant-based cuisine. Some bought jewelry and other goods from plant-based merchants at the market. Live cooking demonstrations taught plant-based cooking basics, and the night ended with live music performances and a wrestling event.

4 Actions to Take for Animals Today

With animal defenders expressing their support for pregnant pigs in Denny’s supply chain, many are taking action from home. Here’s how you can join the movement:

Spread awareness on social media. By commenting on Denny’s social media pages or sharing information about their failed commitment, consumers can quickly and efficiently expose industry secrets. Simply add to your comment, which directs viewers to a website designed to spread awareness. 

Email CEO Kelli Valade. Send a pre-written email to Denny’s leadership, urging them to hear consumers’ demands for better animal welfare policies. 

Call your local Denny’s locations. Whether by using pre-written scripts or sharing your own thoughts about Denny’s cruelty, tell your local diner that you demand better for animals. 

Eat a plant-based meal. While corporate policies reduce some of the worst industry practices, they are only part of the equation.  The only sure way to protect animals from cruelty is by replacing meat, dairy, and eggs with plant proteins. Rediscover your love for food and access a library of free resources to get started today. 

Piglet in a factory farm


Pigs, cows, and other animals feel pain and deserve to be protected from abuse.

You can protect these intelligent animals by simply choosing plant‑based alternatives.

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