CENTURY CITY (CBS) — A restaurant with a penchant for garnering national publicity by tweaking public sensibilities was picketed Sunday because it had a donkey painted hot pink for Cinco de Mayo.
Pink Taco, a Mexican food eatery in the Westfield Century City mall, incurred the wrath of animal rights activists when its management stationed the painted donkey outside the door as a promotion.
The restaurant’s spokesman said two animal handlers were with the donkey all day and the animal was comfortable, not mistreated and apparently happy.
But Carole Davis, speaking for the Companion Animal Protection Society, says she reviewed video and photos of the stunt, and “we determined that the donkey was in distress.”
Davis said the donkey had been shaved and “could possibly suffer from skin irritation from the paint.” A store manager said the donkey had not been shaved, but refused further comment.
She acknowledged that the taco stand has in the past used animals. and its unique name, to get free publicity. “But we think the restaurant is showing others that it’s OK to abuse animals, and we object to that strongly,” she said.
Pink Taco’s owner has used the news media and protests about its unusual name in past years as a marketing tool. Plans to expand the original location in Scottsdale, Ariz. were derided by that city’s mayor because the name is a crude euphemism for a female sex organ.
The restaurant parlayed that flap into appearances on “The Daily Show” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno.”
No official Pink Taco spokesman could be reached.
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