PETA vs. KFC in Cairo

One of the weirder sides of globalization:

Egypt-animal-protest
Giant chicken loses head outside Cairo KFC

CAIRO, Feb 17, 2007 (AFP) - A man dressed in a bright yellow chicken suit protesting cruelty to animals outside a fried chicken outlet in downtown Cairo Saturday was knocked down and had his chicken head yanked off by restaurant employees before being hustled away by police, witnesses said.
Jason Baker, a United States citizen, was part of a protest being staged by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) against Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) for the way its suppliers allegedly treat the animals.
PETA claims KFC suppliers engage in unnecessary cruelty, including drugging and breeding the chickens so that they grow overlarge and become crippled.
As photographers and bystanders crowded around Baker and another PETA activist, Nadia Montasser, a scuffle broke out and Baker was knocked over by KFC employees yelling, "he is not Egyptian," which they subsequently proved by removing his chicken head.
Montasser and Baker were taken away by police but released soon afterwards.
"They have just proved our point," Montasser said on being freed. "If this is how they treat humans imagine how they treat chickens?"
She acknowledged, however, that PETA could not say for sure if chickens were being mishandled by KFC Egypt but that was not the point of the protest.
"We are not targeting KFC Egypt, it is a worldwide campaign aginst KFC," she said, adding that the movement wanted the company to implement specific policies to ensure there was no cruelty.
"We have no relations with the company outside," said the manager of the branch on Tahrir Square, in the heart of Cairo. "We are an Egyptian company with all Egyptian employees, supplied by Egyptian farmers."
According to Tariq Tawfiq, vice president of the chamber of food industries, fast food chains in Egypt use state of the art slaughterhouses that try to ensure the birds are as calm as possible when they are killed.
"The way you treat chicken has a great impact on the quality of the taste, if you treat the chicken right, and keep them calm then their meat is much more tender," he said.
Last May, Baker dressed up as a giant sheep and presented flowers to the Australian embassy in Cairo after it recommended suspending sheep exports to Egypt because of the conditions of the abattoirs.



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Photos by Amro Maraghi for AFP.

[Thanks, Paul]


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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.