MNN.com- Baffled police broke up animal rights group PETA’s first protest in Cambodia on Aug. 13, saying activists who sat in a cage outside a KFC outlet had disturbed “public order” with their “strange” actions. The two foreign campaigners from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the protest in the capital Phnom Penh was meant to raise awareness of the alleged cruel treatment of chickens by the fast food chain, which has 10 restaurants in the country. Preap Borei, a deputy police chief of the capital’s Daun Penh district, said the duo were asked to stop their protest because it “affected public order” and were briefly taken in for questioning before being let go. “We wanted to know the reason for the protest because it’s strange. In Cambodia, no one wants to be caged, but they got into the cage by themselves,” he told AFP. The short-lived stunt, a novelty in a country where animal welfare issues get little attention, attracted several dozen curious onlookers. “We don’t have much knowledge about animal rights. Mainly we’re concerned about chemicals in animals that can affect our own health,” KFC customer Khuon Daroeurn said. The 32-year-old travel agency employee added that PETA’s protest was likely too small to have much impact. “I don’t think many people will think about it,” she said.
It’s great that the Constitution gives Americans freedom to support and protest literally whatever we want, but that also means we live in a country where even the shittiest ideas in the world are still given a chance to flourish. It’s a dangerous mix of free time and tolerance that leads to things like art history majors starting a support group for transsexuals in the south of Uganda, trust fund kids occupying capitalism, and whatever the fuck is going on in that picture up there. Then we have Cambodia, where instead of getting a pat on the head and a “Good job, good effort” like they would in the US, the police arrest the protester- not because they’re causing a disturbance, but because the authorities literally cannot understand what the point is. That bolded quote from the police chief is one of the most unintentionally hilarious things I’ve ever read, and exactly the reality check that groups devoted to absurd causes like PETA need. Even though most people in America just see PETA as crazy doing what crazy does, that doesn’t change the fact that we’ve normalized their insanity. We forget that there are entire countries where “animal rights” aren’t even a thing. Place where the only concern people have for animals is how eating them is going to affect their personal health. Is this probably the only redeeming thing about Cambodia? Absolutely. But at least they have something.