The typical passerby would not likely expect to see a chicken-clad woman in the heat of a July afternoon. However, that was the scene outside of Kentucky Fried Chicken on Rehov Shaul Hamelech in downtown Tel Aviv on Monday afternoon.
A group of animal rights activists gathered outside of the restaurant to protest KFC's reputed mistreatment of their chickens. According to the KFCCruelty Web site, chickens are scalded alive after being crammed by the tens of thousands into sheds that smell of ammonia.
The rally was organized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and attracted nine participants. The protesters stood outside the KFC restaurant with signs reading: "KFC Tortures Animals," and attempted to hand out flyers detailing the issue to passersby. One woman dressed up as a chicken with a crutch, in order to provide a picture of the situation.
Noam Mohr, coordinator of the demonstration, outlined the objectives of the protest, saying: "By raising awareness, we will pressure KFC to have more compassionate treatment and take steps to eliminate their very worst abuses." "These are steps their own animal welfare advisers have recommended," said Mohr, Farm Animal Research Associate for PETA.
This is the first rally about this issue in Israel, as a part of an international campaign. "The people of Israel would not want to patronize KFC any more than anyone else would if they knew that animals were being scalded alive," said Mohr.
Among the protesters was a soldier who took the day off to participate. "The only way to fight this issue is if people boycott KFC, and KFC will stop producing," said the soldier, who wished to remain anonymous due to military rules against political activism by officers.
In response to the protest, KFC employment gave out free chicken wings and passed out advertisements. KFC Manager, Salim Salyeh viewed the protest as beneficial to the restaurant. "They are doing publicity for me.
It's a good thing," said Salyeh.
Despite the protest outside, people continued to eat inside KFC. Yitzchak Mokitada, one such diner, was not bothered by the issue.
"There's nothing to do. This is life and it is all part of the food chain. I have to eat," said Mokitada.
It remains to be seen how effective the protest was, but as passerby Alla Simonitz said while "it is important to be informed of such issues, you don't think of the lives of food - when you are hungry, you eat."