Update: ‘Pig Farmers, Get Out While You Can’ Billboard Now Up in Rockford

With New Tariffs on Pork Exports, PETA Counsels Pig Farmers to Avoid Tobacco Farmers' Fate

For Immediate Release:
September 6, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Rockford, Ill. – China has imposed new tariffs on U.S. pork imports, undermining a market that took nearly 60 percent of American exports of pigs’ heads, feet, and other assorted body parts. In response, PETA has erected a billboard in Rockford—near several pig farms and in the heart of the country’s number four pig-producing state—that shows a pig’s face next to the words “Pig Farmers, Learn From Tobacco Farmers: Get Out Now! Vegan Is Happening.”

The ad is located on N. Second Street near E. Riverside Boulevard and will be in place for a month.

“The demise of the tobacco farmer has shown just how fast a toxic industry can fold,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA’s billboard is serving up an inconvenient truth to pig farmers, which is that it’s only a matter of time before their dead-end industry implodes to make way for the booming vegan market.”

Animal-based operations that recently went vegan include New York’s Elmhurst Dairy, which switched to producing nut-based beverages, and former pig farmer Bob Comis famously switched to all-plant farming because of ethical reasons. Tyson Foods has invested in Beyond Meat, Bareburger announced plans to open a vegan chain, and one in six universities offers an all-vegan dining station. In today’s pork industry, mother pigs are squeezed into narrow metal stalls barely larger than their bodies and kept almost constantly pregnant or nursing. Pigs’ tails are chopped off, their teeth are cut with pliers, and males are castrated—all without any painkillers. At the slaughterhouse, they’re hung upside down and bled to death, often while still conscious.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—initially expected to run the ad on Auburn Street near Rockford’s N. Main Street roundabout, but Link Media Outdoor deemed that location too controversial and “harmful to outdoor advertising” because it was above a restaurant. The group has also placed the ad in the city of Cedar Rapids in Iowa (the country’s top pig-producing state).

PETA offers free vegan starter kits (available here) full of recipes, tips on dining out, and more. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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