Court Rules L.A. Metro Can’t Block PETA’s Pro-Animal Ads

For Immediate Release:
December 21, 2022

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – PETA’s previously rejected I’m Not Popcorn Chicken” ad may soon be running on area buses after all, thanks to the group’s victory this week in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, which granted summary judgment in favor of PETA in the group’s First Amendment lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro).

PETA’s lawsuit took aim at L.A. Metro’s ad policy, which prohibits ads for noncommercial speech unless the ad is sponsored by a government agency—and while L.A. Metro was happy to run popcorn chicken ads from Jack in the Box, it rejected PETA’s pro-chicken ad last year. In a ruling that paves the way for PETA to resubmit its ads to L.A. Metro, the court has now held that both parts of this policy are “unreasonable” and unconstitutional—and that the policy’s exception for government-sponsored ads is, furthermore, “viewpoint-discriminatory.”

“Allowing ads that promote eating chickens but not appeals to help them is a ludicrous policy,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Litigation Caitlin Hawks. “This ruling is a victory for free speech, and PETA looks forward to reaching L.A. Metro riders with the message that animals are someone, not something.”

PETA, which was represented in the case by the Law Office of Matthew Strugar, had also tried to place a “Wear Vegan” ad with L.A. Metro. Both ads feature nongraphic imagery and a simple, straightforward appeal to practice kindness to animals.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat, wear, or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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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