Court Greenlights Lawsuit Against WMATA General Manager Over Refusal to Run Pro-Vegan Ads

For Immediate Release:
August 1, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Washington – The United States District Court for the District of Columbia just ruled that PETA and its co-plaintiffs, which include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), may proceed in their First Amendment lawsuit over Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) refusal to run PETA ads suggesting that people “go vegan,” among other ads. The lawsuit, which was initially filed against WMATA and its general manager, will now proceed solely against the general manager.

The lawsuit takes aim at WMATA guidelines implemented in 2015 that prohibit ads “intended to influence members of the public regarding an issue on which there are varying opinions,” those that “support or oppose an industry position or industry goal without any direct commercial benefit to the advertiser,” and others. The prohibited PETA ads, available here, include appeals to go vegan and choose dairy-free coffee creamer. Others affected by WMATA’s policy include the ACLU, a nonprofit health care network that specializes in providing women with access to birth control, and conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

“Under the guise of skirting controversy, WMATA refused PETA ads that included a poster showing a pig next to the words ‘I’m Me, Not Meat,’ while allowing a restaurant ad proclaiming, ‘Porkadise Found!’” says PETA Foundation General Counsel Caitlin Hawks. “PETA looks forward to establishing that WMATA’s advertising guidelines are inherently discriminatory and restoring PETA’s First Amendment rights to advocate in behalf of animals.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind