Cattle ad pulled after complaints

A Toronto airport is sending a new advertising campaign out to pasture after receiving pressure from animal activists.

Jen Brailsford, spokesperson for PortsToronto and owner and operator of Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island, said the airport removed a poster from its passenger lounge after receiving 25 telephone complaints in five hours, as well as emails and messages over social media.

At issue was the poster’s slogan: “You’re precious cargo, not cattle.”

Toronto resident Len Goldberg spearheaded the protest on his Facebook page.

He called the slogan insulting to cows and contacted PortsToronto asking it to remove the ad. He also encouraged others to express their views to airport officials.

He said in a Facebook message that the airport’s decision to remove the poster “advocates the truth that animals are not commodities; they are sentient beings who want to be free and alive.”

The campaign had been running for about a week and was developed by the passenger terminal’s owners, Nieuport Aviation Infrastructure Partners. It was intended to explain the purpose of construction activity at the terminal and promote the eventual advantages of the upgrades to the building and passenger lounges.

“Once we were alerted to the concerns we immediately removed the poster in question and have cancelled that particular message from the campaign moving forward,” Brailsford said by email.

The slogan had appeared on only one poster in the airport’s passenger lounge.

Crystal Mackay, a spokesperson for the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, said the airport’s decision to remove the poster is not precedent setting. The centre fosters positive relationships between the farm sector and consumers.

Ads are sometimes pulled when someone feels offended, she said.

“That happens all the time on many (different) topics.”

Mackay said different people often perceive situations differently.

“And what may seem perfectly fine or funny” to a farmer “may be considered offensive or off-side” by others, she said.

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