Diners patronizing the upscale Publican restaurant in Chicago’s meatpacking district may be surprised when they spot a billboard across the street from a popular meat-themed restaurant, according to a story reported by NBC affiliate TV 5 News.
That’s because PETA paid for a billboard next to the restaurant and across the street from its butcher shop in a trendy neighborhood just southwest of downtown.
The billboard (www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/PETA-Erects-Billboard-in-Meat-Packing-District-240214871.html) displays a picture of a pig, with a tagline stating, “You can live without those ribs. I can’t.”
Actually, it’s pretty tame by PETA standards. The pig isn’t wrapped in plastic, covered in blood and jammed into some sort of steel cage as is usually the case with their imagery. The photo looked more like that friendly GEICO pig who rides in cars, travels by plane and attends football games wrapped in a blanket.
But my problem wasn’t the billboard, it was the way the media slanted its coverage.
In the video clip, after a requisite shot of the billboard, we hear from a couple of (alleged) passers-by.
“[It’s a] pretty bold choice to put that kind of a sign in the meatpacking district,” a man in his 30s tells the reporter. “If it opens up dialogue, then it’s only a good thing. After all, there is a lot of bad farming practice done in this country and around the world, I’m guessing.”
Next, a young woman looks up at the billboard and says, “It’s just about eating right and thinking about where your food comes from.”
Funny how in a fairly busy commercial district the only two people in the street who made it on camera just happened to be mouthing PETA talking points. What are the odds?
The story then continues by interviewing Cosmo Goss, the sous chef and head butcher at Publican, which specializes in “hand-selected and sustainably-raised fish, seafood and pork,” according to its website. Goss earnestly confesses that he’s puzzled by the billboard.
“We didn’t know what was happening,” he tells the reporter. “We don’t use anything that we don’t believe is humanely, beautifully raised; nothing comes through this door that’s not like that. We didn’t know if it was directed at us.”
Lemme help you out, Cosmo.
Of course, a PETA spokesperson then comes on camera to deny that hatred of anyone connected with the meat industry had anything to do with the group’s choosing a location right across the street from a restaurant specializing in animal foods and located in an area devoted to meatpacking.