Activists Furious over Billboard Removal (Press Release)
Updated: Feb 22, 2020
February 22, 2020, San Luis Obispo , CA - a California nonprofit (Meat-is-Immoral.com) sponsored a billboard on busy Highway 101 to express that “Meat Is Immoral” and direct people to their website. The site then provides detailed information about the devastating impact that the production and consumption of meat has on animals, climate, and workers.
The “Meat is Immoral” campaign was organized by 17-year-old activist Zoe Rosenberg and has been gaining substantial momentum online. Funded by supporters, the first billboard went up this week on a major California highway. Almost immediately, cattle ranchers complained. The rancher who owns the property on which the billboard was posted demanded it be taken down. As a result, the billboard was covered over by black vinyl.
Multiple lawyers have questioned the legality of this censorship. According to legal experts, there may be a first amendment violation involved with denying service based upon a genuinely held ethical position. At the present time, the “Meat-is-Immoral.com” campaign is exploring legal options as well as alternate locations.
“People need to confront the fact that in modern society, meat is immoral for animals, for climate, for workers, and for humanity” says the 17-year-old activist. “Animal agriculture kills over 70 billion animals each year and is a leading cause of climate change. This simple billboard was meant to raise awareness and educate the public about these important and timely issues.”
With support from activists around the world, the “Meat-is-Immoral.com” campaign aims to erect billboards across the U.S. and eventually around the globe. This grass roots effort has been gaining substantial attention as supporters help spread the message by purchasing shirts, bags, buttons, and stickers that promote the website, with all profits going to billboards. Unfortunately, if freedom of speech is being censored in California, this may make the task extra difficult. However, it also appears to be rallying supporters.
Zoe Rosenberg is not a newcomer to this controversial fight. As the founder of a major animal sanctuary in California (Happy Hen Animal Sanctuary), she has spent the last 6 years helping to rescue animals from factory farms and slaughterhouses. Although she is still in high school, she has been arrested numerous times while protesting industries that use animals for food. Her popular TED talk from 2017 describes her views on activism.
Zoe arrested when chained to a Slaughterhouse Shoot in California
“I have been inside slaughterhouses and I know what these animals go through,” says Rosenberg. “We all have a moral responsibility to speak up in whatever way we can.”
Rosenberg says she will not be giving up on the billboard campaign and this controversy will only push her to fight harder to reach people with this message.
For a clear picture of what was silenced by cattle ranchers in California, here is drone footage of the billboard when it was live on Highway 101: