No 'Got Beer?!' here

Ontario university refuses to run PETA advertising

Nov 8, 2002 - Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, has refused to run advertising for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals "Got Beer?!" campaign.


Michael Lindsay, president of the Queen's Alma Mater Society, said he isn't against PETA's objectives for animals, but the tone of the ad is at odds with Queen's policies on responsible drinking. Queen's refused to print PETA's spoof ad in Queen's Gazette, which is directed more at staff, faculty and alumni than students.

PETA announced in late August that it intended to launch a reprise of Got...Beer?! targeting America's top 10 and Canada's top six party schools. The University of Western Ontario, the University of Waterloo and Queen's were on the Canadian list.

PETA initially launched the Got Beer?! college campaign in March 2000 as a parody of the highly successful Got Milk? commercials. A month later, having enraged Mothers Against Drunk Driving in the U.S., the campaign was dropped. PETA said the campaign did what it was created to do by attracting 41,000 visitors to the Web site in the first 36 hours.

The animal rights group offered to install a link to M.A.D.D. on its Web Site and tried to make a $500 donation to the U.S. arm of M.A.D.D. The money was returned. PETA says the ad campaign was brought back because of new scientific evidence linking dairy products to health problems ranging from diabetes to cancer.

"I had no quarrel with their anti-dairy campaign," Queen's Lindsay said. "My quarrel was that their anti-dairy campaign promoted drinking. Our main problem with this campaign is, over the next couple of years, students at Queen's will be getting younger and younger."

The university has already received its first accelerated high school graduates and there will be even more underage students at Queen's in the fall.

Lindsay said the university started an all-ages access service this year so that underage students can go to Queen's pubs "and be part of the atmosphere," but they're not allowed to drink.

Diane Nolting, a health educator who chairs the university's council for substance abuse prevention, said it's not just the younger students the university is concerned about. "The overall objective is decreasing the levels of harmful drinking," she said. Nolting, who heads health counselling and disability services on campus, said the university is trying "to change the subculture to one that is very accepting of low-risk drinking choices."

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