Practical Issues > Animals for Entertainment > Rodeo Index

February 03, 2005

 Campbell Campaign Update: Exciting News!

Dear Friends,

I have some truly wonderful news on the issue of rodeo animal abuse.  While SHARK was in Las Vegas, Nevada during the National Finals Rodeo, we heard persistent rumors regarding major upheaval in the rodeo world.  As it turns out, the rumors are true.

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), the world's largest rodeo association, is experiencing very serious financial hardships.  Apparently the phony cowboys got so caught up with their "rodeo is taking over the world" propaganda, they started believing it themselves.

The long, hard slide to reality publicly began when SHARK exposed the horrendous animal abuse that took place at PRCA rodeos during the 2004 season.  Within a few days, the commissioner of the PRCA was unceremoniously ejected from the association, in spite of efforts to make the break-up appear to have been amicable.  Then we learned that the PRCA lost a half million dollars on their televised rodeo finals on ESPN.

The PRCA has also been losing money on their attempt to start rodeos featuring primarily bucking bulls.  The PRCA has shut down its 'Hall of Fame,' which should have been called a 'Hall of Shame.'  The PRCA has apparently cut one of its two rodeos held annually in Las Vegas.  These days, the phony cowboys are doing even more cryin' in their beer than usual, and that's saying something.

The reason for all of this is what SHARK has written about for years.  Many, if not most, rodeos have sparse attendance.  The situation is much as with bullfighting.  Whether the venue is a bullfighting arena or a rodeo arena, there are a relative few die-hard fans buying the tickets.  Most attendees are ignorant of what they will see.  Some are shocked, some are disgusted or just plain bored with what they witness.  Those with hearts and brains aren't likely to return.

With practically empty arenas at so many rodeos, the phony cowboys are addicted to sponsorship money.  If that money gets cut off, the rodeo thugs are going to go into some mighty ugly withdrawals.  We are now seeing the beginning of those withdrawals.

A few years ago the PRCA lost an important corporate sponsor, Coca-Cola, after SHARK met with a corporate official and submitted footage of rodeo animal abuse.  Coke dropped rodeos sponsorships at the corporate level, which is where the big money resides.  Coke still allows its individual bottlers to sponsor rodeos if they choose, but at least now the PRCA is stuck with the company's corporate crumbs instead of the whole loaf.  To make up for the loss, the PRCA tried a deal with Dr. Pepper, but that deal quickly fizzled also, again after SHARK talked to Dr. Pepper.

Now it is time for Campbell Soup to learn the harsh lesson of what happens when it chooses to sponsor animal abuse.  Campbell's subsidiary, Pace Foods, is sponsoring the PRCA as well as Cash (yes, that's actually his name) Meyers, a steer roper.  Steer roping (also known as steer busting) is the most abusive event in rodeo, with the highest injury/death rate.  Steer busting is so brutal that steer busting finals are usually held in out-of-the-way places and at strange times like early mornings on week days.  Sometimes the location of the event is changed at the last minute to try to eliminate the chances that animal protectors may attend.

Campbell Soup, which makes a big deal out of its supposed 'corporate ethics,' is involved in the worst of rodeo.  It's gotten away with this shell game for a couple years, but now the party is over, and Campbell finds itself swimming in SHARK-infested waters.  This will become even clearer to the company when the Tiger Truck comes calling before the month is up.  I intend to be there, and to personally confront Campbell's corporate animal abusers about their cruelty.  I can't wait to see Campbell's spokespeople do a dance for the media when we show up with the evidence of Campbell's cruel sponsorship.

Please go to our website to get involved in this campaign.  There are many ways to play.  There is contact information for Campbell Soup offices, so that you can voice your opinion.  We are posting letters to Campbell on our site, so send your letter/E-mail to Campbell and to us.  We are posting a list of groups that oppose rodeo animal abuse.  We have listed all of Campbell's products so that you can boycott.

This campaign must and will be won, and it will be a great victory for rodeo victims.  Thanks to all of you who have already contacted Campbell, and to those who have donated to help us keep the pressure on.  Those donations are vital to keeping this campaign moving.  Please remember that we have only one paid employee at SHARK (and it ain't me), and SHARK doesn't pay rent or a mortgage.  Your donations go directly to making change for our nonhuman friends.

While there is much to do, we are on our way.  The only question now is how much pressure and public relations damage does Campbell have to incur before it chooses to 'do the right thing.'  The way I figure it, we are going to be kicking butt on some corporate animal abuser one way or the other.  Whether it is Campbell or another company means little to me, but it is a matter that Campbell people should think about very carefully.  I remember the continuing ramifications for Pepsi after it chose to fight back over the bullfighting issue.  Although SHARK forced Coca-Cola out of bullrings also, Coke incurred less damage because it wisely chose to get out quick.

Campbell Soup has apparently chosen to go the Pepsi route, and that is fine with me.  Speaking on a personal level, I am going to enjoy my part in making an example of them.  Again, thanks to all of you who have taken part in this great effort, and thanks to those of you who will.  Let's put the spurs to the phony cowboys and their corporate sponsors!

Kindest Regards,

Steve Hindi

Mr. Doug Conant, President and CEO
Campbell Soup Company
1 Campbell Place
Camden, NJ 08103-1701
(856) 342-4800

Mr. Harvey Golub
Chairman of the Board
Campbell Soup Company
Consumer Response and Information Center
1 Campbell Place
Camden, NJ 08103-1701

Please consider donating to SHARK today and help us in our efforts to end rodeos, hunting, bullfighting and other forms of violence against our animal friends!

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Geneva, IL  60134

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