PETA threat­ens to sue over anti-Canada Goose ads

Times Colonist - - Canada - TARA DESCHAMPS

TORONTO — Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals is threat­en­ing to sue the City of Toronto and As­tral Me­dia for re­mov­ing anti-Canada Goose ads.

The an­i­mal-rights group said Fri­day that it will com­mence le­gal ac­tion against the city and As­tral, if they do not re­post ads the group paid to put up in Septem­ber that crit­i­cized the Toronto-based lux­ury jacket maker for us­ing goose down and coy­ote fur in its jack­ets.

The ads fea­tured im­ages of the an­i­mals with cap­tions say­ing “I’m a liv­ing be­ing, not a piece of fur trim” and “I’m a liv­ing be­ing, not jacket fill­ing” and were put up at bus shel­ters be­tween Canada Goose’s head­quar­ters and the home of the com­pany’s CEO, Dani Reiss.

PETA’s as­sis­tant man­ager of cloth­ing cam­paigns, Christina Sewell, told the Cana­dian Press the ads were meant to run for four weeks, but were up for less than 24 hours in Septem­ber.

“As­tral let us know they had to pull the ads be­cause they had too many nu­mer­ous com­plaints,” she said.

A spokesper­son for Bell Me­dia Inc., which owns As­tral, con­firmed it re­moved the ads be­cause they were not in line with a part of the Cana­dian Code of Advertising Stan­dards that re­stricts ads from dis­parag­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions or caus­ing pub­lic ridicule.

PETA claims it is not vi­o­lat­ing the stan­dards.

“PETA’s po­si­tion re­mains that its right to free ex­pres­sion in­cludes the right to place this par­tic­u­lar art­work — in its cur­rent form — on city prop­erty, and that the re­moval of its art­work vi­o­lated this right,” the group said in a let­ter it sent to the city, Bell Me­dia and As­tral Me­dia on Thurs­day.

Asked about the ads, City of Toronto spokesper­son Eric Holmes said As­tral “is re­spon­si­ble for ap­ply­ing the stan­dards and any de­ci­sions re­lated to the ap­proval and re­moval of advertising con­tent on these as­sets.”

Sewell, who called the ads “be­nign,” said PETA doesn’t have a time­line for how soon it will take le­gal ac­tion if the ads aren’t re­posted, but is com­mit­ted to car­ry­ing out their threat.

A Canada Goose spokesper­son did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

The com­pany has long been in PETA’s crosshairs.

PETA mem­bers, some­times dressed as coy­otes, have protested in front of the ap­parel com­pany’s stores and have re­peat­edly billed Canada Goose as a per­pe­tra­tor of “shame­less cru­elty.”

“There are so many cru­el­tyfree al­ter­na­tives out there and things that are made out of plants or syn­thetic. Fur is hugely detri­men­tal to the en­vi­ron­ment,” Sewell said, not­ing that Canada Goose hasn’t got­ten in touch with PETA since it un­veiled the ads.

“We have been cam­paign­ing for sev­eral years now and we are very hard pressed to get a di­rect re­sponse from the com­pany.”

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