SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - The animal rights group PETA is complying with Utah state officials, agreeing to not air a graphic animal rights video at their booth during the Utah State Fair.
It's the first time members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has appeared at state fairs across the country. Part of this year's agenda is to showcase a video entitled "Glass Walls," narrated by Paul McCartney. The graphic video depicting cruel treatment of animals at slaughterhouses across the country has sparked controversy at other state fairs. For example, public outrage in Iowa led fair organizers there to temporarily ban it and currently a lawsuit is brewing between PETA and the Kansas State Fair. However, here in Utah, both parties have arrived at a healthy compromise.
A month agao, when PETA originally applied for a booth at the fair, organizers in Utah said they would allow them, on one condition: that PETA agree to handing out DVD's of "Glass Walls," instead of airing it for all to see at their booth. Fair organizers say the graphic nature of the video, along with vulgar language in the film are just too much for a family environment. "There was language both subtitled and verbally that would not be allowed other than in an R-rated movied in the state of Utah, and this is a family event," said Clark Caras, Executive Director of the Utah State Fair Park.
Given their arguments with other fairs across the country, PETA surprisingly agreed to Utah's terms. "We were totally fine with it," said PETA supporter Matt Bruce. Instead, PETA decided to nix plans to air the video altogether in order to have more open dialogue with Utahns about animal cruelty. "When we engage people in these conversation, it reaches deeper inside of them, and then hopefully they go and tell their friends," said Bruce.
So far, both sides say the compromise is working well. "We've appreciated the fact they've abided by the contract and I think that they've appreciated the fact that we've abided by the contract and welcomed them," said Caras.
PETA organizers say they've had a good turnout at their booth and that people have shown more interest in the DVD's They say from here on out, they will handle each fair on a case by case basis.