SHARK is pleased to report that after waiting considerably longer than one might think for an "ethical" company, Starbucks Coffee has conditionally done the right thing by ending its financial support of rodeo animal abuse. While our active campaign against Starbucks, which began with SHARK's discovery of Starbucks' support of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, has come to a close, we are unable to give the company high marks for its conduct. Read on for an explanation and campaign history.
While endlessly touting its principles, ethics, and social responsibility, Starbucks Coffee showed little of those qualities during an approximately six month campaign designed to persuade Starbucks to stop giving advertising sponsorship money to rodeos. Those who have been involved in the campaign to stop Starbucks' rodeo sponsorships have seen a winding, twisting strategy from the company as it tried every possible way to confuse its customers and deny its rodeo involvement
In a March 2006 meeting with Starbucks' Executive Liaison, Matthew Murray, assured SHARK that the company would no longer give rodeos money, either as a sponsor or advertiser or any other manner. Less impressive is Starbucks’ decision to continue allowing some stores to donate products to local rodeos.
As a further concession, Starbucks promised that it will not allow the rodeo mafia to use Starbucks donations as a vehicle to claim the company as a sponsor. This means that rodeos will not reap undeserved legitimacy from the Starbucks’ name or logo.
If Starbucks wants to foster community goodwill with its "coffee donations" it might support local organizations such as youth clubs, places of worship, homeless and/or animal shelters, etc. Instead Starbucks chooses to give corporate welfare to a cruel and tasteless group of freeloaders who already receive so much money from governments and corporations that they should be forever known as “Welfare Cowboys.”
SHARK is willing to give Starbucks credit where it is deserved. We appreciate that the company has withdrawn money and the use of its name in association with rodeos. However, even donating to animal abusers is just repugnant.