Dr. Bruce W. Little
CHICAGO—Officials at O'Hare International Airport removed advertisements for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals after receiving complaints from the AVMA and other individuals and groups.
The ads, which contained the tag line "Be an Angel to the Animals," came to the attention of the AVMA when Dr. Bruce W. Little, executive vice president, returned to Chicago after the AVMA Annual Convention in Nashville in July and saw the ads in the airport.
Dr. Little wrote a letter to Mayor Richard M. Daley objecting to the display of advertisements for PETA. Dr. Little noted that PETA officials have said they welcome the introduction of animal diseases to the United States, have posted billboards suggesting that former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's prostate cancer was linked to a diet containing animal protein, oppose medical research, and condone damaging public and private property.
"(PETA's advertisement) 'Be An Angel to the Animals' is hypocritical in the extreme. To my mind, a group that wants to be an angel to the animals would not welcome the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease into the United States, a disease that causes suffering and death in hoofed animals and has a serious impact on the agricultural economy," Dr. Little wrote.
"It is hard to believe that the Giuliani family or any family dealing with cancer, heart disease, birth defects, or any serious health or medical problem would recognize the angelic qualities of a group that opposes medical research," he added.
According to Craig Mele, the operations manager for Clear Channel Airports, the airport provides free advertising space for nonprofit groups. He said the PETA advertisements "slipped through the cracks" because the company was not aware of all the animal rights group's activities.
"We weren't very familiar with PETA," Mele said. Following the letter from Dr. Little and other complaints, the ads were removed, Mele added.
Dr. Little said he was pleased the results and the Association's involvement.
"Associations play a pivotal role in informing and educating the public about issues within any certain field," Dr. Little said. "After being informed of the threat to society that organizations like PETA represent, Clear Channel Airports took action to no longer allow advertisements by adversarial groups that would use the public domain to advance their causes. The AVMA is pleased to be a part on that educational process."