No Vegetarian Ads On St. Catharines Transit Buses – No, No, No!

By Doug Draper

If you have an ad promoting vegetarianism over eating meat, good luck getting it run – at least on the sides or the back of a St. Catharines Transit bus.

One of the ads an animal activist group wanted to run on transit buses

Niagara Action for Animals, a long-time, not-for-profit organization in the region, advocating for more humane treatment of animals of the non-human kind, had their luck run out with a rejection from the St. Catharines Transit Commission this January to run an ad asking anyone who might have seen a series of their ads why they might love a dog or cat more than a pig or a chicken or a cow.

“Our intentions were to ask people to think critically about this issue,” Kimberly Costello, a spokesperson for Niagara Action for Animals (NAFA) told Niagara At Large. “Most people would be abhorred to think of their pet being genetically modified, intensively confined, mutilated, neglected, and brutally slaughtered, yet we seem to think it is okay when these acts are committed against equally sentient animals, such as cows, pigs and chickens.

But so much for that.

David Sherlock, general manager of the St. Catharines Transit Commission, exercised the veto authority he has to keep the ads from being displayed on the city’s buses. Any ad that may be “controversial” or “that takes a position that could be considered by the public to be politically sensitive…is something we don’t want on our buses,” he said.

“Our buses are public property,” said Sherlock” and we exercised our right to not place (the NAFA ads) on our publicly funded buses.” Costello, on the other hand, thought the ads “would be a great campaign to do in Niagara,” and wondered why, when there are no graphic or violent pictures in the ads, and why, they would be rejected.

Niagara At Large wants to put that same question to St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan, but so far he has been unavailable for comment. We also want to put that question to you. How do you feel about these ads appearing on transit buses. Share year views on this topic in the comment boxes below.

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4 responses to “No Vegetarian Ads On St. Catharines Transit Buses – No, No, No!

  1. I am concerned. It appears that there is no official ‘policy’ that the Transit Board follows, and the subjective opinion of the E.D. Sherlock is what matters. I would like to know if there is a Board Policy, and if so, what it states.

    Does this mean the Transit Commission posts advertisments from large companies such as McDonalds and Wendy’s but rejects not-for-profit organizations? Has the Transit Commission made their ‘policy’ publicly available?

    They used to accept political ads on the back of the buses, but stopped doing so in 2006. Whose call?


  2. They’re always whining for money. If someone is willing to pay for an advertisement that falls within the scope of public decency, go for it.


  3. This is amazing in 2010 that there is a problem with these ads. Yes of course they should be able to have their ad on Niagara Transit. I eat meat but would like the chance to consider a second option. The ads you show here are not offensive.
    Yes… they should be able to advertise. They are paying for it.


  4. Sheila Nicholson

    It is extraordinary that not running Nafa’s ad can be decided in this arbitrary way. I trust the rest of the Transit Board’s policies are not decided like this.
    The ad asks a perfectly valid question. This is a topic that is debated worldwide and a decision is up to the individual.
    And the ad is not offensive, it is provocative, as all truly good ads are.


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