July 22, 2010 / 1:23 PM / 10 years ago

Westerners stage brief animal rights protest in Syria

DAMASCUS, July 22 (Reuters) - Pedestrians at a busy thoroughfare in the Syrian capital were stunned on Thursday when two Westerners appeared inside a coop in front of a KFC restaurant to protest the U.S. chain’s treatment of chickens.

The two activists, members of the international People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) were swiftly rounded up and deported.

Non government-sponsored demonstrations are virtually unheard of in Syria, which has been controlled by the Baath Party since 1963.

A placard on the cage urged a boycott KFC because it said its chickens were “confined, tortured, scalded”.

“We got our message across. KFC has to implement an animal welfare policy in Syria. The way the chickens are bred and transported is very cruel,” said Ashley Fruno, a U.S. national.

“Protests have helped KFC change its policies in Canada, but not elsewhere. Our effort is worldwide,” said Jason Baker, who is from Vancouver.

The two staged similar protests in Cairo and Beirut and Peta is planning one next in Jordan.

The KFC manager at the site declined to comment but one employee confirmed that the chickens are sourced from a local supplier.

The regional KFC franchise is owned by the Kuwaiti conglomerate Al-Kharafi.

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