Shore Transit, Tri-County Council Hit With Free-Speech Lawsuit

For Immediate Release:
August 17, 2021

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Salisbury, Md. – This morning, PETA—represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—filed a lawsuit against the Tri-County Council of the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland and one of its divisions, Shore Transit, over their refusal to run PETA’s ads on their buses. Shore Transit stated that PETA’s ads—which read, “No One Needs to Kill to Eat,” and call for the closure of slaughterhouses—were “too offensive for [its] market and political in nature.”

PETA’s lawsuit argues that the ad policy adopted by the Tri-County Council and Shore Transit as well as their refusal to run PETA’s ads under that policy violates PETA’s rights under the First and 14th Amendments. The group accordingly asks the court to compel the Tri-County Council and Shore Transit to run the ads and to prohibit them from enforcing prohibitions against ads that they deem to be “political,” “offensive,” “controversial,” “objectionable,” or “in poor taste,” as, PETA argues, these prohibitions are unconstitutionally vague, inherently discriminatory, and entirely at the discretion of government officials. PETA views animal slaughter as offensive, controversial, objectionable, and in poor taste and views the statement “No one needs to kill to eat” as fact.

“In the land of free speech, Shore Transit can’t block appeals to end cruelty to animals based on whether its officials agree with that idea or not,” says PETA Foundation Director of Litigation Asher Smith. “PETA is pushing for the restoration of our First Amendment rights and the opportunity to encourage Shore Transit riders to save animals’ lives by going vegan.”

PETA is represented by Brian Hauss with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project and Robin Cockey of Cockey, Brennan & Maloney, P.C.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit 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