US city authority sued over sow stall ads

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

HSUS has launched legal action over sow stall ad ban
HSUS has launched legal action over sow stall ad ban

Related tags United states Livestock Pork

A US animal welfare organisation is suing a city transport authority for refusing to run an advertisement showing pigs suffering in sow stalls.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has filed a federal lawsuit against the Raleigh Transit Authority for refusing to run its adverts, which are part of its campaign to outlaw sow stalls in the US, on city buses.

The group is claiming that the Raleigh Transport Authority has violated its constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution “by rejecting, on the basis of its message, artwork and text submitted for an advertisement”.

HSUS said it had run identical ads on buses in other US cities, including Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington DC, adding that gestation crates were an “everyday practice”​ in the US pork industry.

Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice-president for animal protection litigation at the HSUS, said: “The Raleigh Transit Authority cannot refuse to run this advertisement just because it is uncomfortable with showing the public how abused most breeding pigs in the pork industry are.

“The Transit Authority is violating the First Amendment by censoring animal welfare messages, and depriving the citizens of Raleigh of information pertinent to their food purchases.”

The lawsuit has been filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina and HSUS is being represented pro bono by Latham & Watkins LLP and Ellis & Winters LLP.

The anti-sow stall movement is gathering pace in the US, with nine US states passing laws to ban the controversial confinement of breeding pigs. Major US pork producers Smithfield, Hormel and Cargill have also pledged to work towards crate-free pork production systems.

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