Last week, Memphis was named the fourth dirtiest city in the country by Travel+Leisure Magazine, but staffers at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) think they have the solution.
The animal rights organization will offer to pay the city's sanitation department for advertising space on garbage trucks. The ads would feature a lady wearing a lettuce leaf bikini with the message, "Meat Trashes the Planet. Go Vegan. Free Starter Recipes: PETA.org."
They may have a point. Factory farming is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gases. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
"Our proposal is a win-win solution. Memphis will be better able to keep clean, and people will be encouraged to adopt a healthy and humane vegan diet that won't dirty the environment," said PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman. "The meat and dairy industries are among the leading causes of environmental devastation, so the easiest way for Memphis residents to go 'green' is to go vegan."
PETA said in a statement today that the organization sent a letter to Public Works director Dwan Gilliom. A city spokesperson said Gilliom hasn't received the letter yet, but Gilliom did offer this response:
"Although we have received several media calls from various local outlets regarding this matter, I take the position that we will not aggressively pursue this proposal unless directed to do so. Not that we opposed accepting this offer, [but] it would be a unique situation for us to sell advertisement space on the side of our trucks, although it is not unheard of in the solid waste business or in other cities. If we were to consider selling such advertisement [space], it would be like other purchases, by bid and based upon our specifications. Anything inappropriate or of a controversial nature would not be considered. As a courtesy, we will reach out to the representative from PETA today in order to properly here their proposal."