AUSTRALIA: July 15, 2008

Topless demonstrators from People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) protest outside a fast food outlet in central Sydney.

The three protesters were detained by police on public offence charges.

'Chicks' ruffle police feathers in topless protest


15/07/2008 12:00:00 AM

It's not known whether World Youth Day pilgrims found the sight of semi-naked women protesting in a cage annoying, but three women were arrested for doing just that outside a KFC restaurant in Sydney.

The topless women from animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were arrested yesterday afternoon while protesting outside the restaurant over Kentucky Fried Chicken's alleged treatment of chickens in factories and slaughter-houses. The women wearing only lacy, yellow bikini bottoms were inside a large cage, holding signs that read ''Chicks Agree: Boycott KFC''.

One of the protesters claimed they were roughly handled by police, and said this was because of increased police powers, which came into force on July 1 and will remain in place until the July 31.

But police denied special powers brought in for this week's Catholic World Youth Day were the catalyst for the arrests.

PETA protester Ashley Fruno, 22, said, ''We didn't expect such harsh treatment from the police.

''In our experience, police here in Australia have been very lenient towards protesters, so we certainly didn't expect this.

''It looks like it was due to the World Youth Day events going on and the new regulations.''

Under the laws, emergency and rural fire service volunteers have the right to move on people deemed to be causing ''inconvenience or annoyance'' to pilgrims during World Youth Day celebrations and face fines of up to $5500. But NSW Police, who said the protesters were causing a stir among passers-by, denied using any new powers on the KFC protesters.

The three women, Ms Fruno, 22, Fawn Porter, 20, and Carla Lobos, 32, protested for about 40 minutes before being arrested about 1pm.

Ms Fruno said, ''People were shocked, but we think we went a long way in educating people about the way KFC treats its chickens.

''And of course, the discomfort of the protest, being arrested and the chaos is certainly nothing compared to what the animals go through.''

The three women were held for about 90 minutes for questioning but were later released without charge.

KFC later issued a pun-laden statement, making light of the protesters' action.

The fast-food giant's operations general manager Angus Armstrong, issued a statement saying,''It was clear that recent protests were not abreast of chicken farming practices in Australia.

''This issue was overexposed before today's protest. We do not own or operate chicken farms, but work closely with reputable suppliers, government and industry bodies regarding humane farming methods in accordance with Australia's high standards.''

The protest follows former Baywatch star and PETA supporter Pamela Anderson's non-topless protest at a Gold Coast KFC last week and is part of a four-year global campaign against the fast-food chain over the way chickens are raised, slaughtered and transported. AAP

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