PETA Offers Harrisburg Ready Money to Put Lettuce-Bikini Ad on Incinerator

People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals offered Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a “modest contribution” to place an ad promoting meatless diets on an incinerator whose debt load is pushing the city toward state oversight.

Along with its letter to Mayor Linda Thompson, the Norfolk, Virginia-based organization attached the proposed ad, which features the slogan “Meat Trashes the Planet. Go Vegan” and a blond woman in a bikini top resembling lettuce.

“The incinerator might have burned up more of Harrisburg’s dollars than its trash, but our offer would provide the city with some much-needed cash and encourage residents to take a stand for a cleaner environment, better health, and compassion for animals,” Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement today. “Whether your town is in the black or in the red, it’s always the perfect time to go ‘green’ by going vegan.”

Harrisburg, a state-capital city of 49,500, faces a $242 million debt -- five times its general-fund budget -- because of an overhaul and expansion of the incinerator that doesn’t generate enough revenue. The City Council voted to file for bankruptcy protection -- a move a judge denied -- and Governor Tom Corbett has moved to place the city in receivership.

Harrisburg, strapped for cash, may have to sell assets such as the incinerator and its parking system. PETA is “hoping to negotiate with Mayor Thompson and find an amount that benefits the city and ensure the ad stays on the smokestack as long as possible,” Ashley Byrne, a spokeswoman, said in a telephone call.

Robert Philbin, a spokesman for Thompson, didn’t return a call for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Romy Varghese in Philadelphia at rvarghese8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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