The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) tried to place a billboard in Hanford, CA, stating "Real Milk Comes from Real Sick Cows" and urging people to "Go Vegan," but the nation's biggest billboard company told the group no.

After a dead dairy cow from Tulare County in the heart of dairy country was confirmed as infected BSE last month, PETA announced it would place its message on a billboard near Baker Commodities, the Hanford plant where the animal was taken for initial processing.

But when the group called Lamar Advertising Co. to put up a message, the company wouldn't accept it, PETA spokeswoman Alicia Woempner says.

"We got more or less a generic response, 'Unfortunately, I cannot accept this ad content,'" Woempner says. PETA has since switched to a television ad in the Fresno market.

Lamar turned down the message out of concern that the group's statement was not truthful, says Hal Kilshaw, the company's vice president of governmental relations.

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