THIS PAGE | E-MAIL THIS PAGE
Thursday, October 30, 1997
Emu ranchers sue Honda over commercial
AMARILLO, Texas (AP) -- First Oprah, now Honda.
In a second Amarillo federal lawsuit based on Texas' agricultural
slander law, a group of emu breeders has sued American Honda Motor
Co. over a commercial that pokes fun at emus, among other things.
The commercial depicts a man taking his Honda from one unusual
job interview to another. One of his stops is an emu farm where
a caricaturish rancher tells the aspirant the large birds are
the "pork of the future."
"The advertisement placed emu in a false light by depicting
it as a scam and a meat whose properties were those of pork. When,
in fact, the emu is the antithesis of pork, and its breeders ...
are hardworking, honest Americans," the lawsuit filed last
Emus yield lean red meat. Pork is a white meat.
Art Garner, spokesman for California-based American Honda,
said Wednesday that the company had yet to be served.
"From time to time we've had an ad taken the wrong way
by some people," Garner said. "The ad in question is
very much a tongue-in-cheek, humorous-type advertisement, as most
of ours are. In fact, we got several letters and calls from emu
farmers who appreciated the visibility they received."
The commercial for the Honda Civic ran nationally last winter
Last year, a Texas cattle feeder sued Oprah Winfrey after an
anti-meat activist on her show implied that a brain disease was
a threat to American beef eaters. That case eventually could be
the Supreme Court test for similar "veggie libel" laws
in other states.
Veggie libel laws sprouted after a "60 Minutes" report
in 1989 on the apple growth regulator Alar sent prices plummeting.
Since then, more than a dozen states have passed laws against
falsely disparaging products.
The 10 emu raisers, mostly from the Huntsville area, claim
that the advertisement cost each of them at least $75,000 by devaluing
emus. The lawsuit also said the commercial "was an attempt
by the Japanese to belittle and disparage American traditions
and to associate the emu industry to that of a pyramid scheme."
The emu breeding industry reportedly has been in a slump for
the past few years. A mid-1990s plunge in emu prices caused many
investors to lose money, though the industry is trying to rebound
by aggressively marketing the animals' oils.
Breeding pairs that would have sold for $50,000 a few years
ago might bring less than $1,000 today, one breeder said recently.
Send a Letter to the Editor about This
Story | Start or Join A Discussion about This Story
Send the URL (Address) of This Story
to A Friend:
Abilene Reporter-News / Texnews / E.W. Scripps Publications
the URL (Address) of This Story to A Friend: