An animal rights group offered an unusual solution Thursday to the controversy aroused by a set "phallus-shaped" pillars installed along a road in a suburb of Pittsburgh.
The pillars, called bollards, were erected in Scott Township to keep traffic from driving into nearby structures.
Several local residents complained that the bollards, which have an elongated shaft and a bell-shaped top, look like oversized parts of the male anatomy. Others claimed friends have mocked the columns and dubbed their street "Penis Road."
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, always sharp on the draw, knows a marketing opportunity when they see it. Thursday, PETA offered to cover the cost of partial penectomies.
In a letter sent to the Scott Township Manager the group wrote:
We've heard that some residents have a bone to pick with the recently installed bollards in the Glendale area, which they feel closely resemble male genitalia. In order to help cover the costs of flattening the tips of the pillars that are causing such a rise with some residents, we would like to pay to place pro-vegan, anti-impotence ads on the bollards, which would read, "Here's a tip: Go vegan to beat impotence! PETA."
Tracy Reiman, PETA's executive vice president, said vegans — people who do not eat meat and other animal products — are less likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Each of the afflictions has been implicated as a cause of erectile dysfunction.
It's hard to determine just how serious the group is about the cockeyed offer. Denise H. Fitzgerald, the Scott Township Manager, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Reiman's letter ends with this bit of comedic soft sell:
"(B)y avoiding the cholesterol and saturated animal fat found in meat, dairy products, and eggs, men can keep blood flowing to all their organs."