Raleigh Transit Authority sued by HSUS for rejecting bus ads

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The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) recently filed a federal lawsuit against the Raleigh Transit Authority for refusing to run bus-wrap advertisements on its buses. The bus-wraps depict sows in gestation stalls. Printed at the top is this: “How would you like to spend the rest of your life in a space as small as a bus seat? It’s what Big Pork wants for pigs, but together we can change that.” A web address is provided as well.

What HSUS means by “Big Pork” is never described. However, the web address takes people to a page on the HSUS website, where they are provided the form letter and address to send an email to the National Pork Board. Underneath the area in which visitors provide their own contact information, is a message explaining how they will receive future solicitations from HSUS. It states: “After you take action, you'll receive updates by email on how you can help animals.”

The complaint, filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina, alleges that the Raleigh Transit Authority violated 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 complaint seeks a declaration that the Transit Authority’s rejection of the HSUS ad is unconstitutional and further seeks to enjoin the Transit Authority from refusing to run the ad.

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Thom Katt    
Midwest  |  August, 21, 2013 at 02:07 PM

This is an easy on to solve. RTA should just stop accepting any advertising. Government agencies shouldn't be in the advertising business anyway. The organization should stick to the function for which it was chartered which was transporting people. I know it is a measure to bring in additional revenue so fairs can be kept low. But look at the trouble it is causing. That is what happens when governmetn steps across the bounds of governing and into the bounds of capitalism. If we allow turning buses into billboards, why not sell advertising rights to school desk tops? And let's let drug companies put up a poster in every public hospital room. See my point? Once you start with something like this, it just keeps on growing. Kill the RTA adds and render the HSUS litigation moot.

Iowa  |  August, 21, 2013 at 02:17 PM

Good points - great solution.

kansas  |  August, 21, 2013 at 05:34 PM

The Point here is that this is the nature of HSUS - Bullying. They are Litigious Bullies who will use any means, especially the behemoth of intricacises that is our legal system, to overwhelm and harrass anyone or thing that gets in their way. They follow this with under-the-table, behind-the-curtains lobbying (again using their legal staff) to make incremental gains in legislative bans and punitive regulations. Money, threats and exploitation of the incredible (to us) urban ignorance and gullibility of legislators and their constituents.

August, 22, 2013 at 04:53 AM

HSUS is not a government agency. They are a fake animal charity lobbying group who should not even have tax exempt status. In fact there has been an IRS tax fraud investigation pending against them for 3 years, most likely held up by Lois Lerner who is a staunch supporter of this radical group of vegan Animal Rights/Animal Liberation fanatics. Do not get them confused with your local humane society or any humane society. They have no affiliation whatsoever and do not own or operate even one animal shelter. They hoodwink the public to the tune of $130,000,000 a year and in 2011 only .25% of it (yes, that's point two five percent) went to hands on care for shelter animals. 15 states' shelters got goose egg while 71% of their donors believe that's where they're money is going. Instead they spend it to harass farmers and dog breeders and try to legally end all animal enterprise, ownership and usage. www.humanewatch.org

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