LOUISVILLE -- An animal rights group placed a tombstone with a hidden message in Cave Hill Cemetery, the graveyard in which the founder of KFC is interred.

The grave marker was originally approved by the cemetery, but officials said they were tricked. Now they want it removed.

The headstone is actually not meant to be a memorial for a person. Instead, it’s for animals -- all part of a scheme by PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

“We do not believe in being part of any political message at all,” said Mac Barr, board chairman of Cave Hill Cemetery. “And I think that kind of message is inappropriate for this cemetery.”

At first glance, the tombstone looks like any other grave marker. But a closer look at the epitaph reveals a deeper meaning.

A seemingly innocuous poem is inscribed on the headstone, but when read vertically; the first letter of each line spells out “KFC Tortures Birds.”

“We sent our design to the cemetery ahead of time, or rather, the monument company did, and it was approved in advance,” said PETA representative Lindsay Rajt.

“We did not realize there was a mnemonic over here that says ‘KFC tortures birds,’” Barr said. "Had we known that, had Matthew or somebody from his organization presented it to the board, it would not have been approved.”

The plot purchased by PETA, with living PETA member Matthew Prescott's name on it, is strategically located near the memorial of Kentucky Fried Chicken founder, Col. Harland Sanders.

“We believe that this is directed at Col. Sanders and KFC, and again, if we had known this in advance we would not have permitted this,” said Barr.

“Col. Sanders has a monument in Cave Hill Cemetery and he is an icon of cruelty,” said Rajt. “Certainly the nearly 1 billion chickens that are tortured and killed for KFC restaurants each year are more deserving than him.”

Barr said the tombstone was approved by one of their sales people, but now that the true message is clear, it will have to be removed.

“He can take it anywhere he would like to take it and we will also buy the grave space back from him,” he said.

Barr said another local cemetery might welcome the headstone. PETA representatives say they will now consider their options.

“We understand their point of view,” Rajt said.

In a statement, KFC said, “People will see this for what it is, a disgustingly disrespectful way to disgrace the resting place of the departed… They have crossed the line once again and continue to misrepresent KFC's industry-leading animal welfare guidelines."— WLKY NewsChannel 32

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