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.