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October 18, 2013

Raleigh Transit Authority Settles Lawsuit Over Ads Exposing Pig Abuse

Buses Will Display Ads Exposing Pork Industry’s Inhumane Confinement of Pigs

The Raleigh Transit Authority and The Humane Society of the United States have settled a lawsuit filed in August challenging the Transit Authority’s refusal to run advertisements that show pigs suffering in extreme confinement, a common pork industry practice.

“We are pleased that this case has come to a swift end, and that the citizens of Raleigh will be better informed about how most breeding pigs in the pork industry are so routinely abused,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president for animal protection litigation at The HSUS.

The HSUS filed a federal court lawsuit alleging that the Raleigh Transit Authority violated The HSUS’ rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution by rejecting, on the basis of its message, artwork and text submitted for an advertisement.

The HSUS originally asked to run the advertisement on a single bus for six months, but the ad was rejected for being “too negative.” As part of the settlement, the ads will be featured on two city buses for a period of six months.

The ads are part of The HSUS’ campaign to halt the standard pork industry practice in which breeding pigs are virtually immobilized inside two-foot wide metal cages for essentially their entire lives. 

The HSUS was represented pro bono in this case by Latham & Watkins LLP and Ellis & Winters LLP.

Facts

  • North Carolina is the nation’s second-largest pork-producing state.
  • Nine U.S. states have passed laws to ban the gestation crate confinement of breeding pigs.
  • Renowned animal welfare scientist and advisor to the pork industry, Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is clear on this issue: “Confining an animal for most of its life in a box in which it is not able to turn around does not provide a decent life.” Grandin further states, “We’ve got to treat animals right, and the gestation stalls have got to go.”
  • Leading pork producers Smithfield and Hormel have pledged to end the use of gestation crates at their company-owned facilities by 2017, and Cargill is already 50 percent crate-free. Meanwhile, many traditional family farmers have avoided using gestation crates for generations.
  • In a 2013 survey by the National Pork Board, 53 percent of pork producers said they do not use gestation crates or plan to stop using them in favor of group housing of sows. 

 

Media Contact: Anna West: 301-258-1518; awest@humanesociety.org

Subscribe to Wayne Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation. Follow The HSUS PR department on Twitter for the latest animal welfare news. See our work for animals on your Apple or Android device by searching for our “Humane TV” app.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated the most effective by its peers. Since 1954, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. We rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals each year, but our primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs. We're there for all animals, across America and around the world. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- on the Web at humanesociety.org.

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