AN advertising row has taken a new turn after an animal rights campaign group saw a cheeky bid to advertise on local bin lorries thrown out.
As we reported, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) wanted to use this eyecatching image of a scantily-clad woman to promote a vegan lifestyle to people in Malvern.
But Malvern Hills District Council has refused the request and told PETA it will not even consider any further requests for advertising.
PETA got involved after its attention was caught by our coverage of the council’s new advertising policy, which forbids negotiations with organisations “of a political nature which seek to influence public opinion”.
But Ivor Pumfrey, the council’s head of community services, has written to PETA’s associate director Mimi Bekhechi and dismissed the request.
He said PETA’s request and the fact it was shared with your Malvern Gazette left him “in no doubt” of the organisation’s political intent.
He also said mock-up designs submitted were not compatible with the council’s vehicles, but signed off: “Regardless of the technical issues, we will not be in a position to offer you any advertising opportunities in the future.”
PETA spokesman Ben Williamson said the organisation is “disappointed” with the council’s stance.
He said the offer would have been a “no-lose proposition”, bringing in cash for the council and allowing PETA to promote its cause.
“The United Nations has called the animal agriculture industry one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems and urges a move toward a vegan diet to save the world from the worst impacts of climate change,” he said.
“It’s ironic that the council’s vehicular advertising offering won’t be used to promote the single most effective action that any individual can take for the planet, which is to go vegan.”
The council’s stance on advertising has previously riled members of the Worcestershire Vegans and Veggies group.
They complained when a poster by vegan charity VIVA was removed from the window of Malvern Tourist Information Centre – claiming animal rights was being singled out for censorship when other ‘political’ organisations such as Fair Trade and Amnesty are allowed.
And Green leader Coun Julian Roskams said he did not think it is right that council officers should be judging whether adverts submitted are “political”.
“By disallowing ‘political’ advertising, we are forcing ourselves to make difficult value judgments,” he said.
“There was a time when the consensus would have been that adverts from those campaigning to abolish slavery or to enfranchise women were too controversial and under our current rules we would have rejected them.”
“We have previously accepted ads from Amnesty, an overtly political organization that campaigns for a change in the law.
How can this be squared with the decision to turn down PETA?”