Friday, November 30, 2012 at 8:45 a.m.
It is no secret. We have major issues with our food system: pesticides we eat, pollution from fertilizers, genetically-modified food, trans-fats, you name it.
One such issue, animal cruelty, is often taken up by animal rights groups through ad campaigns -- many of them shocking and grotesque. A series of ads posted in Germany back in 2004, created an outcry--not for the treatment of animals, but for the analogy within it.
Back in 2004, German PETA, known as PETA Deutschland, produced an ad campaign comparing factory farming to the Holocaust. A series of seven graphic posters juxtaposed images of animals suffering on farms to images of people near-death in concentration camps. To say the images are heart-wrenching would be an understatement.
Due to the graphic nature of the images, they were banned. It's no surprise the Germans are sensitive when it comes to all things relating to the Holocaust, with good reason. PETA appealed the ban to the Berlin Court of Appeals, which was rejected. The appeal process was repeated over and over again until it finally reached the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). PETA Deutschland claimed that the banning the campaign violated Article 10, a guarantee of free speech, in the European Convention on Human Rights.
This month, the ECHR rejected PETA's appeal, the government agencies who originally placed the ban satisfied part (b) of article 10, which allows for restrictions seen as necessary including "in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary." Apparently, the ads fell under one of the aforementioned issues.
American and European free speech laws obviously differ, but the question arises: should ads such as these be banned? Weigh in the in comment section.