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August 2005
What’s 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 supports animal cruelty.

If you read Campbell’s code of business conduct and ethics on its official website (www.campbellsoup.com), 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.

Mmm…Mmm…Bad
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 visit www.CampbellSoupKills.com.

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; john_w_faulkner@campbellsoup.com. Mr. Harvey Golub, Chairman of the Board, directors@campbellsoup.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 sharkintl@sharkonline.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) 557-0176
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