Maryland Department of Transportation Sued for Censoring Animal Rights Message

Another day, another transit company trying to silence a White Coat Waste advertisement.

Today my office filed suit against the Maryland Department of Transportation and related entities for refusing to run White Coat Waste’s advertisement criticizing the Beltsville USDA lab’s practice of killing six-month-old kittens in medical experiments.

Using documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, White Coat Waste showed that the USDA laboratory breeds up to 100 kittens a year, feeds them Toxoplasma-infected raw meat, harvests their feces, and then kills and incinerates the kittens.

Because this kitten slaughter is funded by taxpayers, White Coat Waste attempted to run this ad on Maryland trains and buses:

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The transit company rejected the ad citing a policy against “political” ads. But after White Coat Waste made a public records request and discovered that the transit company did not prohibit “political” ads, the transit company changed its story and claimed it rejected the ad because it “depicts violence.”

Because the transit company is a government entity, it must follow the First Amendment. By discriminating against advertisers like White Coat Waste based on their identity or message and allowing one side of a debate to get its message out while silencing the other side, the transit company is violating the First Amendment.

Read the complaint here.