Century City’s Pink Taco held a promotion for Cinco de Mayo that has many animal lovers up in arms. They painted a donkey pink and chained it up at their location in the Century City mall. The company is working on opening up a restaurant on the Sunset Strip.
The incident was first reported by vegan blogger QuarryGirl when she came across a photo of the stunt and became outraged. A Facebook page encouraging a boycott was soon established and word spread across other social media platforms such as Twitter.
Celebrities such as Pink, Stephanie Pratt, Lo Bosworth, and Lea Michele tweeted their disgust at the restaurant’s promotion. On the other hand, KTLA caught up with Vanna White near the restaurant and she didn’t understand what the big deal was.
“Maybe he liked it, maybe he thought he was getting a massage when he was getting painted,” White said. “I think [it’s okay] as long as it didn’t hurt the donkey.”
The Facebook protest group’s description read, “These people spray painted a donkey and tied him to a post in 90-degree heat. This is not OK. Please boycott this restaurant.”
QuarryGirl reported, “Thankfully people took to twitter and facebook to speak their minds… and pink taco has now deleted both their twitter and facebook profile!”
She also said that calls to the restaurant were producing the response, “the donkey isn’t outside anymore! we got so many calls, we took it away!”
An animal rights organization was planning to protest at the restaurant on Sunday, according to NBC Los Angeles. A member of the group told NBC LA that she reviewed video and photos of the stunt, and they “determined that the donkey was in distress.”
She also said her group will protest outside the restaurant Sunday, and demand an end to the use of live animals for promotional purposes.
The restaurant defended itself in comments to TMZ, saying , “We obtained a permit from the city to have the animal on site and the pink coloring used on the donkey was a safe, water-based and commonly used on animals in the entertainment industry. Additionally, the donkey’s trainer escorted him the entire appearance, he was on a leash, not a chain as reported in the media, and we provided plenty of water and care to him throughout.”
Nevertheless, many people still feel that the promotion was at the very least in poor taste. Reports also say that the restaurant previously promised to not hold any more promotions using live animals.
Animal rights group PETA wrote to Pink Taco’s owner, Harry Morton, reminding him of a pledge that he made to PETA back in 2007, when he repeated the same stunt at the restaurant’s opening. A video of that promotion was found on YouTube showing a pink donkey being paraded in different parts of Los Angeles, in addition to here on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.
Morton issued a statement to PETA reaffirming his pledge never to use animals in promotions again: “…Pink Taco has agreed not to use animals at our events and promotions and we are looking forward to…discussing how we can work together in the future.”
PETA commented, “We hope that this time his pledge is sincere. The message that nobody accepts animal exploitation has been made loud and clear thanks to PETA’s awesome supporters who acted quickly and gave a voice to Pinky the donkey. Together, we make a difference!”
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