via Imgur

When we first saw this image of a duck entering the New York City subway system, we naively believed that he stepped right out of a children's book and was playing out his magical and triumphant story about a little duck in a big city. And what joy this duck was surely bringing to fellow straphangers as he waddled along to catch the N train to their yelps of "Only in New York!"

But moments later we discovered that our new feathered friend did not make a personal choice to ride the rails today, instead he was forced to by the corporate overlords of one of the nation's largest insurance companies. Yep, it's the Aflac duck.

We've reached out to PETA to see how they feel about a duck being brought into the subway system for a social media marketing campaign, and will update when we hear back. In the meantime, Adam Lisberg at the MTA tells us:

“Ducks don’t belong on the subway, especially waddling through stations, and especially not when they’re used as part of a publicity stunt that makes it harder for our customers to get around. We did not know about this stunt, we did not approve it, and we’ve made clear to Aflac that it was improper. New Yorkers know that animals are only allowed in the subway when they’re enclosed in containers that will prevent them from annoying any other passengers.”

Now what do you have to say for yourselves, Lance Bass and Joey Fatone?

UPDATE: PETA tells us they are contacting Aflac "with concerns about taking a live duck into a busy New York City subway station. A subway station is no place for a duck, who can't possibly understand the reason for all the noise and commotion of an everyday commute, let alone a gathering crowd with flashing cameras. Aflac has been so creative in the past with its use of computer-generated imagery, puppets, and others alternatives to live animals in its ads, and we're hopeful that in the future Aflac will leave live ducks out of its publicity stunts and use its creative power to come up with a kinder way to grab the public's attention."