PETA poster

The proposed ad PETA wants to run on Greensboro Transit Agency buses to protest animal use in the upcoming UniverSoul Circus at the Greensboro Coliseum would show a zebra emerging from the clown’s mouth because UniverSoul no longer uses elephants and tigers in its performances, according to PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Jared Goodman.

GREENSBORO People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is getting its wish to display an ad on local buses that is critical of the UniverSoul Circus’ visit next week.

The Greensboro Transit Agency initially said no, then on Monday relented to grant the ad a spot at the downtown bus and train station.

But it turns out the GTA also is open to posting the ad on buses if that’s what the animal rights group wants to do. And that indeed is what PETA asked for, spokesman David Perle said.

“PETA is now explicitly approved to run the ad on buses, as we initially requested,” Perle said in an email.

Perle said Tuesday afternoon that the group is still working out final details for its Gate City advertising campaign.

After rescinding last week’s original rejection of the proposed ad, the GTA said at first that it could go on display at J. Douglas Galyon Depot because that’s what local transit officials thought PETA had requested.

To explain the confusion, city spokesman Jake Keys provided a copy of PETA’s initial June 10 inquiry seeking both approval of the ad’s content and pricing information from the GTA’s advertising representative, StreetLevel Media.

That initial request from a PETA advertising coordinator in Norfolk, Va., asked to display the group’s message “on a vertical static billboard or vertical transit or transit shelter spot.”

“We don’t offer advertising on transit shelters, and it wasn’t clear in their request that the desire was to advertise on actual buses,” Keys said Tuesday. “However, if that’s their desire, they’re free to advertise anywhere it is offered.”

Headquartered in Norfolk, PETA is an international nonprofit group known for its assertive tactics in championing animal rights and welfare.

The target of PETA’s criticism, UniverSoul Circus, is scheduled to perform in the Greensboro Coliseum’s parking lot for six days starting next Tuesday ending with an evening show Aug. 18.

The Atlanta-based circus puts the spotlight on performers of color in a program that combines art, theater and music. Parts of the performance also include trained dogs, horses and zebras.

PETA and UniverSoul differ over whether the animals are treated properly. The circus asserts that it adheres to an animal rights policy that ensures humane care.

But PETA contends in its pending GTA advertisement that “UniverSoul Circus exploits animals instead of focusing on its talented human acts. Don’t go.”

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Contact Taft Wireback at 336-373-7100 and follow @TaftWirebackNR on Twitter.

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