January 13, 2005
State agency not covered by false advertising law
You always knew that the government could lie to you, but now it's official. California state agencies are not subject to the state's false advertising laws, according to a decsion by the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco.
The animal-rights group People for the Ethnical Treatment of Animals sued the California Milk Producers Advisory Board, whose ads show "happy cows" cavorting merrily in sunny pastures, with the slogan "Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California."
It's a lie, said PETA. California cows are not, in fact, particularly cheerful, and their lives are (so to speak) poor, nasty, brutish, and short. The cattle lots do not have vegetation, said PETA, and the animals defecate directly onto the ground.
The court did not need to reach a sovereign immunity argument, holding merely that the false advertising statute did not mention public entities and therefore did not apply to them. PETA's remedy was to filed a request for administrative review.
There is no word whether PETA will now pursue the Chick-fil-A franchise people on the grounds that the poor-spelling cows in its ads cannot, in fact, write at all.
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