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Monday, June 24, 2024

PETA advertisements on Metro buses comply with policy

Images of cats during University of Wisconsin-Madison animal research, which first appeared as part of an advertising campaign on Madison Metro buses Monday, will remain throughout the end of the calendar year, according to Metro Transit spokesperson Mick Rusch.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals accused UW-Madison of animal cruelty during cochlear implant research, which aims to improve hearing in humans.

PETA signed a $12,000, two-month contract for the advertising space, Rusch said. And despite some community backlash, Metro Transit intends to see the contract through.

“Regardless of the concern that is being generated by our riders, our buses are public forums,” Rusch said. “So it’s all governed by freedom of speech.”

Rusch also said Metro Transit “had no basis to not run the ad” because the image does not violate the department’s policies prohibiting “libelous, obscene or fraudulent” advertisements.

Rusch added Metro Transit is “not endorsing either side” but “simply providing an advertising platform.”

PETA spokesperson Justin Goodman said the organization is hoping the advertisements will raise awareness about UW-Madison’s use of cats in experimental research, which Goodman called “horrific taxpayer-funded cruelty.”

“Cats’ lives literally depend on people seeing images like these and being motivated to take action,” Goodman said. He added “the inside of buses is the perfect forum to let taxpayers around Madison know what UW is doing to cats in their name.”

Goodman said PETA has experienced an “overwhelming amount of support for the campaign,” including individuals writing to federal agencies to cut funding for the project.

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