Texas Update: San Antonio wants to make PeTA pay

By: Mary Beth Duerler  Date: 01/16/2012 Category: | Animal Rights Extremism |

"Hooked on meat? Get off! Go Veg" read the graphic, blood-dripped banner draped across a 60-foot-high San Antonio billboard. A man dangling from a rope on the billboard had a meat hook protruding from his body.

The mid-July annual convention of the Texas Poultry Federation draws protests every year from Voice for Animals, our local animal rights extremists. This year, Voice members kept their feet on the ground while Paul Martin and Harold Linde scaled the billboard. Martin of laurel, Massachusetts, and Linde of Berkeley, California, are both members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The two protesters climbed the billboard at 10:30 a.m. and were removed by members of the San Antonio Fire Department at 2 p.m. The rescue caused a three-hour street closure; the police arrested the high-flying pair as soon as they reached the ground.

Martin has been charged with criminal mischief and criminal trespassing, Class B misdemeanors punishable by a fine of up to $1000 and jail time of not more than 180 days. He has also been charged with resisting arrest. Linde was charged with criminal mischief. There is a bond of $1000 on each charge.

These actions didn't go well with either San Antonio's citizenry or its city officials. Radio talk show hosts open the phone lines the next day to disgruntled taxpayers who felt the protesters should pay for the city rescue services. The Jack Riccardi Show on WOAI Radio asked listeners to call in their vote on "Should PeTA pay for what they did?" Adding his name to the overwhelming number of "yes" votes was our distinguished Mayor Howard Peak.

A representative of the San Antonio Fire Department, a guest on another radio program, said the department is looking into writing an ordinance to address protesters who break the law. San Antonio already has an ordinance that levies a $400 fine for citizens going around a barricade during floods and requiring rescue assistance from the fire department.

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