COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Colorado State Fair is set to open Aug. 24 and representatives of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) will have their own booth. But the group won't be selling anything.
PETA plans to display a 13-minute video the group says depicts animal cruelty on "factory farms" in Colorado. It is narrated by former Beatle lead singer, Paul McCartney, a vegetarian. The group also plans to air the video at the Kansas State Fair and is threatening a First Amendment lawsuit if the group is prohibited from showing the footage.
The booth is intended to be a parody of 4-H. But instead of Head, Heart, Hands and Health — the traditional focus of 4-H youth programs — PETA's version stands for "Hell for animals, Heart attack-inducing, Hazard to the environment and Hypocrital for teaching kids to care about only certain animals and disrespect others," according to a release on the group's website.
"We're the only vendor at the fair not selling anything. Instead, we're just trying to educate the public about a hidden side of agriculture, which is of increasing concern to the nation," said Dan Mathews, PETA senior vice president in release on the PETA website. "We're not peddling cotton candy or corn dogs, just food for thought, and we expect to reach a lot of people, especially teens."
The group is planning to show the video at the Kansas State Fair scheduled for Sept. 7-16. But state fair officials told the group they can't show video that depicts animal slaughter and related activities, according to news reports. Also, officials demanded that PETA shield passersby from such images.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri and a Kansas City law firm have agreed to represent PETA in any federal litigation over the matter.