Every few months, the Asia-Pacific chapter of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) pulls-off an attention-grabbing stunt in Bangkok -- usually involving nudity or costumes.
The latest photo op took place this week outside of Siam Paragon. Canadian PETA activist Ashley Fruno lay on the ground outside the luxury mall with her body painted like snake skin to protest against the use of exotic animal skins by luxury fashion brand, Hermes.
"Our purpose is to stop animal suffering like that of the snakes who are beheaded or skinned alive to be turned into bags for Hermes, and we use all available opportunities to reach millions of people with powerful messages," says Fruno.
"We have found that people do pay more attention to our racier actions, and we consider the public’s attention to be extremely important. Sometimes this requires tactics -- like naked marches and colorful ad campaigns -- that some people find outrageous or even 'rude,' but part of our job is to shake people up and even shock them in order to initiate discussion, debate, and of course, action."
So do these protests actually work? Fruno says PETA often see an increase in hits to its websites, and receives a spike in emails from a particular country or about a certain issue following their stunts.
"After a protest against Hermes in Indonesia, we received hundreds of emails from concerned people around the country who were horrified to learn that snakes are often paralyzed by having a skewer shoved up their nose, and then have their bodies filled with water to separate their skin from their organs, before being skinned alive -- all for a bag or a belt."
Here’s a look at some of PETA's raciest Bangkok campaigns through the years, including this week's.
"I’m often nervous as hell, but the reality is that it’s nothing compared to what the animals go through. For this demo, I had to raid a nursery, stand for hours while being body painted, and then run down the road with more plants than I can carry while dressed in shimmery green body paint. It got more than a few stares from the hotel clerks!" says PETA activist Ashley Fruno of this week's stunt.
July, 2010: PETA activists dressed as giant condoms demonstrated at Democracy Monument to raise awareness over the plight and issue of the millions of stray dogs on the streets of Thailand.
October, 2009: PETA activist Fruno attempts to bring attention to Canada's annual seal slaughter by showing some painted skin in front of the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok. "We use staff ideas, the ideas of volunteers, and anything in between. We’re always brainstorming at our office and testing these things out," she says.
January 2009: A PETA demonstration against KFC in front of a Bangkok outlet.
May, 2008: This ad campaign was shot in Bangkok.
July, 2007: The colonel has no heart, PETA claims. "We do a lot of work behind the scenes that doesn’t grab headlines, like distributing materials and inspecting shelters. But unlike the industries we’re up against, we don’t have millions of dollars to spend on advertising, so we grab the media’s attention with outrageous stunts and provocative demonstrations and campaigns instead," says Fruno.
Click ahead to page 2 for more photos. March, 2007: Canadian activist Fruno lets her body do the talking. "We’d like nothing better than to secure serious media coverage of factory farms, fur farms, animals in laboratories, and other forms of animal abuse. Unfortunately, however, we usually have to throw in a gimmick to get these issues in the news -- and reported internationally," she says.
December, 2006: Models Patrick Ribbsaeter and Avi Siwa in a PETA advertisement that was released in the Philippines, India, Sweden and Thailand.
March, 2006: PETA activists staged a symbolic funeral march in downtown Bangkok to warn against bird flu, also urging people to go vegetarian.
November, 2005: PETA activists Brandi Valladolid and Christina Cho in front of Bangkok's Australian embassy. The protest was against the Australian wool industry over the practice of 'museling' and live sheep exports.
August, 2005: Philippine supermodel Isabel Roces in a Bangkok PETA photo shoot aimed at promoting vegetarian food.
February, 2004: Rocker Chrissie Hynde gets in on the act during a Bangkok demonstration.