PETA hopes to rent disused prison building in Virginia for a museum championing chickens

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TROUTVILLE, Va. — An animal rights group wants to rent a prison building the state plans to close and turn it into the nation’s first “chicken empathy” museum.

A People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals official has sent a letter to Gov. Tim Kaine asking to rent the Botetourt Correctional Center building in Troutville.

Kaine spokeswoman Lynda Tran said the state doesn’t lease to private entities except for cases grandfathered in when it purchases buildings.

PETA spokeswoman Ashley Byrne said the Norfolk-based group thinks a former prison is the ideal setting for exhibits on what it contends is mistreatment of chickens raised for slaughter.

Reiman said the museum also would have displays detailing chickens’ habits and intelligence.

Kaine spokeswoman Lynda Tran said the state doesn’t lease to private entities except for cases grandfathered in when it purchases buildings.