In a fresh taunt to local drivers, animal rights group PETA is set to aim a two-pronged blow by billboard at Texan meat-eaters.
Capitalizing on the state's reputation as the "Death Penalty Capital of the World," PETA's newest billboard overlooking Interstate 45 near Hutchins Street and St. Joseph Parkway features a pair of pitiful pigs trapped behind bars in a slaughter pen, along with the slogan, "Not Everybody on Death Row Has Committed a Crime. Go Vegan."
As far as PETA's notorious advertising stunts go, this one's actually pretty accurate. Not everybody on death row has committed a crime. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Texas has exonerated 12 death row inmates since 1973. It ranks third out of all states for the number of wrongful capital convictions.
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But the point PETA is trying to get across has more to do with the inhumanity of botched animal executions. PETA says that pigs suffer tremendous torment in the meat industry, the chances of freezing, suffocating or trampling in crowded transport trucks keeping them at constant risk of accidental death. The ones that actually make it to the slaughterhouse aren't any better off -- they're partially stunned and boiled in scalding tanks, PETA says.
"There's no chance of appeal or clemency for the pigs, cows, and chickens who are killed every day for food," says PETA Associate Director of Campaigns Lindsay Rajt. "No matter where you stand on capital punishment, PETA's billboard makes the point that meat-eaters are responsible for the traumatic execution of animals."
So there you have it. Two separate interpretations -- it invokes the broken criminal justice system and tortured pigs -- to make your commute even more of a bummer.
The billboard is set to go up on September 9. We'll see whether the campaign gets Houstonians to opt for cheese-less salads over BBQ.
Correction 10:20 a.m.: The billboard is already up, PETA folks say. A PETA rep will be on site near the billboard on Monday, September 8 and Tuesday, September 9 at 12 p.m. to talk about the campaign.