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What is it about local government and free speech?

First the bus company nixed an ad from atheists.

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Now Little Rock City Attorney Tom Carpenter has refused to give People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals the OK to post the 5-foot-5-inch anti-McDonald’s statue shown here on public right of way near a McDonald’s at 7th and Broadway. Cruelty to chickens destined to be chopped up into McNuggets and sandwich and salad makings is the PETA charge. It is denied by the poultry industry, which contends PETA uses scare tactics to encourage vegetarianism.

Anyway, speaking of harm: PETA says it was told that it would be a safety hazard to install its sculpture on Seventh Street.

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PETA says it has been allowed to install the protest art in other cities without a problem.

(I wonder if they thought of trying Springdale.)

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City Attorney Tom Carpenter, provided a copy of the PETA release, responded:

For the most, this is accurate. The sculpture weighs a couple of hundred pounds, will not be permanently set, and will not be attended. The fact that it is a scalded chicken is of no consequence to the City. Our last letter noted that they could protest, and there is nothing to say that the sculpture cannot be used in that area. For safety purposes, we want it to be attended, movable, not an impediment to traffic, and not in a position that can create a public safety concern near a busy street. They wish to use the location for a temporary period of time as a franchise, and the City has denied it on public safety grounds. We noted, however, that there are numerous alternative means to express their concern. We have no problem with the message; ours is a public safety issue only.

Go to the jump for the PETA release.

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