Dozens of signs that describe the slaughter of farm animals in sometimes graphic and profane terms were discovered on L trains in recent days and havebeen removed, CTA officials said Thursday.
Since last week, 28 of the unauthorized signs, which were placed near paid advertisements inside L trains, were removed from the Orange Line, and 15 were pulled from the Blue Line, CTA spokeswoman Maria Toscano said.
The agency also directed its rail employees and its advertising contractor to continue to look for the signs and yank them on sight.
The situation is unusual because of the sheer number of signs and the detail that apparently went into making them.
"It's rare that there's an `ad' put up like this, in the correct format, down to the [11-by-28-inch] dimensions that we use, although these clearly had an unfinished look to them," CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney said. However, "they looked real from a distance."
"I can only remember once . . . in the last five years where someone had gone to the trouble of making a car card, and that was protesting service issues," she said. "And it wasn't as widespread."
The signs single out McDonald's, with one designed to look like it's from the chain.
Lisa Howard, a spokeswoman for McDonald's Corp., said: "Obviously we have absolutely no connection to these. . . . We have an excellent track record in respect to animal welfare. . . . We've been singled out for our leadership."
It's unclear who posted the signs. The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals denied responsibility.
"We have a moratorium on our campaign against McDonald's," said Bruce Friedrich, a PETA official. "After an 11-month campaign, they agreed to make some improvements to the way animals are treated. What they did was the barest of minimums . . . but it's still commendable.
"Steve Hindi, who leads a suburban group called Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, said SHARK didn't post the signs.
"If you're going to be using obscenities, vulgarities, I feel like it's kind of bringing down our issue," he said. "What we're trying to do is instead of the real radical stuff . . . show people . . . footage of rodeos, circuses, slaughterhouses."
The CTA has received few if any complaints about the signs. (Transportation Reporter, 23. März 2001)