For Key West cabbies wary of vomiting fares, an offer of barf bags

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has offered Key West cab drivers and taxi companies these barf bags.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has offered Key West cab drivers and taxi companies these barf bags.

A new Key West law prescribing a $50 cleanup fee for anyone who vomits in a cab has caught the eye of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The Norfolk, Va.-based PETA, known for radical protests and risque marketing, is offering free barf bags — festooned with faux blood spatter and emblazoned with the message "If you knew how meat was made, you'd lose your lunch!" — f0or any interested cabbies or taxi companies.

"That's just what I need people looking at," John Cameron, who drives for Five 6s, said when shown a picture of the bag.

Cameron said he's been driving cabs in Key West for three years and that while uncommon for a passenger to throw up in a cab, it does happen, particularly during the ribald 10-day costume and masking Fantasy Fest, which kicks off Oct. 18.

"For Fantasy Fest, some guys just put down plastic in their cabs," Cameron said. Of the clean up fee, "It's the hardest $50 you'll make. A lot of guys just call it quits after that."

He said given the physical condition of passengers who might throw up, the barf bag would likely not help.

"The ones that are gonna puke, they have no idea," he said. "I'd rather they do it in the trash can before they get in."

The Key West City Commission passed the $50 fee into law last week after two public hearings.

PETA Special Projects Manager Alicia Woempner offered: "The most important lesson that can come out of PETA's barf-bag offer is that the animals many of us call food want to live free of pain and suffering and avoid a terrifying death just as we humans do."

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