Really Cooking at Campbell’s?
By Steve Hindi and Pat Vinet
What comes to mind when you hear the name Campbell is warm, comforting,
canned soup, an all-American brand. “Mmm, mmm, good!”
Which is why it’s a shock to learn that the Campbell Soup Company
If you read Campbell’s code of business conduct and ethics on its official
you might think it is a first class company, always striving to do the right
thing. Note, for instance, the following statement
from Campbell President and CEO Douglas R. Conant: “At Campbell Soup Company,
we are committed to conducting every aspect of our business in compliance with
the law and the highest ethical standards. This commitment is a source of pride
and strength for our company and for every Campbell employee.” Sounds good,
doesn’t it? Well, in January 2005 Showing Animals Respect and Kindness
(SHARK) launched a campaign against the Campbell Soup Company for its sponsorship
of rodeos through its subsidiary Pace Foods, a Texas-based salsa company. Pace
Foods not only sponsors rodeos, but also steer tripping—the most dangerous,
abusive and indefensible of rodeo’s brutal events.
The treatment of rodeo livestock, just like racing dogs, is not protected under
the federal Animal Welfare Act. As such, each state or local jurisdiction is
left to decide where to draw the line between what is a legitimate use of animals
for sport and what constitutes abuse. Permitted in only a dozen western states,
steer tripping is the rodeo’s most carefully guarded secret. In fact, it
is not permissible at the national rodeo finals held annually in Las Vegas. At
times when it is included as part of a rodeo package, steer tripping is often
held at a different time and location from the other events.
Steer tripping—also called steer roping and steer busting—involves
a steer bolting out of a chute at top speed to escape torments ranging from excruciating
tail twisting and bending to electric shock. Once out of the chute, a mounted
rodeo contestant takes off after the steer and attempts to throw a rope around
the terrified animal’s horns. More often than not, the rope comes to rest
and is tightened over the steer’s eyes. As the cowboy snares the animal’s
head, the rope slacks at the steer’s feet. The rope then tightens, yanking
the steer’s legs skyward while his head is turned around at an angle of
at least 180 degrees and slammed into the dirt. The steer’s body is rendered
senseless and three of his legs are tied for a timed score. The rodeo crowd cheers
as the steer lies still, often severely injured or paralyzed. His eyes blink
as several rodeo hands roll his motionless body onto a flat wooden pallet that
is dragged away by horses.
Injuries and death resulting from steer tripping are prevalent and widely documented.
SHARK investigators videotaped the steer-tripping finals held in Amarillo, Texas
last November. Nine steers were either killed outright or so badly crippled,
they had to be dragged out of the arena. A tenth victim was filmed staggering
out of the arena while blood poured from his nose and mouth.
Once outside the ring, these animals were considered trash and dumped into a
discard pen. Investigators carefully kept watch over the pen to see if the animals
would receive any veterinary attention. None was given.
Rodeos that do not include steer tripping still involve an extensive collection
of animal abuses—whose victims include horses, bulls, steers, and even
very young calves. Most notably, calf roping involves the actual clotheslining,
body slamming and dragging of three to four month-old animals. They run out of
the chute in terror only to have a rope abruptly jerk their necks back while
their bodies continue to hurl forward at speeds of 25 miles per hour. Many of
these babies are killed instantly—their necks simply snapping—while
others are injured and left to suffer.
Showing Animals Respect and Kindness is appalled that a subsidiary of the Campbell
Soup Company would act as an accomplice in this barbaric ‘sport.’ Billing
themselves as the essence of wholesomeness and corporate ethics, we hoped that
Campbell’s leaders had made an honest mistake and simply weren’t
aware of what they were supporting. This was clearly not the case. Campbell’s
leaders know the truth.
SHARK has presented the Campbell Soup Company with a plethora of documentation,
only to receive evasive, rude, and dishonest feedback in return. Repeated attempts
to communicate with Campbell’s have thus far been rebuffed. Additionally,
since word of Campbell’s inhumanity began to spread in recent months, they
have been bombarded with concerned emails, letters, and phone calls from people
around the world. Campbell’s customer relations people are both lying to
and frustrating customers. When the public attempts to call their “Ethics
Hotline” (we’re serious!) to express their dissatisfaction, some
customer relations people are telling customers that theirs is the first rodeo
complaint call they have received or redirecting them to the recipe hotline.
SHARK’s Tiger video truck actually spent three evenings at Campbell’s
headquarters in Camden, New Jersey, displaying graphic and compelling images
of rodeo animal abuse on multiple 100-inch movie screens. Everyone there knew
about the Tiger’s visit, and most everyone saw the video documentation
of rodeo animal abuse for themselves.
Campbell refuses to meet with SHARK to discuss options. For that reason, SHARK
is calling for an international boycott of all Campbell’s brands and products.
Their family of brands include Pepperidge Farm, Prego pasta sauces, and V8 juices.
For a complete list of Campbell’s brands and products sold worldwide, please
What You Can Do
We hope that you will join others who care about and respect animals in contacting
Campbell’s and telling this company to stop sponsoring animal abuse and
animal abusers. Please contact the following decision-makers at: Campbell Soup
Company, 1 Campbell Place, Camden, NJ 08103-1701. Individual contact information
follows. Mr. Doug Conant, President and CEO, (856) 342-4800; Douglas_R_Conant@campbellsoup.com.
Mr. John W. Faulkner, Director of Brand Communications, (856) 342-3738; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Harvey Golub, Chairman of the Board, email@example.com.
Please view our video clips at www.CampbellSoupKills.com and
see for yourself
just what Campbell’s Soup is supporting. We encourage people who care about
animals to attend local rodeos with video cameras. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
to find out more about getting started. It’s easier than you think!
Steve Hindi is founder and president of SHARK, an organization
dedicated to ending animal suffering and abuse. Hindi utilizes TV technology
with the “Tiger
Truck,” custom-equipped with large video screens, and prowls the streets
educating passersby. Pat Vinet is a veteran undercover rodeo investigator and
has been involved with SHARK since 2002. Contact www.sharkonline.org or (630)