Since SHARK began our tireless campaign in 2005 to get Campbell Soup/Pace Foods out of the rodeo abuse industry, caring consumers everywhere have been waiting for this news:
Read Campbell's full statement below:
October 23, 2006
Thank you for taking the time to contact us about our advertising. It is very helpful to hear what consumers like you have to say - good or bad - about the way we promote our product.
Campbell Soup Company and Pace Foods are no longer sponsors of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). As with all of our sponsorship programs, Campbell continuously evaluates the overall performance of our sponsorship programs. In this instance, Campbell and Pace Foods chose not to renew the PRCA sponsorship when it expired.
Thank you again for your comments.
L. M. (name withheld to prevent harassment from rodeo people)
Consumer Services Representative
To learn more about the beginnings of this campaign, read below.
If you read Campbell's Code of Business Conduct and Ethics on the company website (www.CampbellSoup.com), you might think that this 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?
Unfortunately, the reality was very different from the rhetoric. For several years Campbells, through its subsidiary Pace Foods, sponsored cruel rodeos that abuse, injure, and kill animals. The list of victims included horses, bulls, steers, and even very young calves.
Campbell's subsidiary Pace Foods not only sponsored regular rodeos, but also rodeos that include steer roping, an event so brutal it is allowed in only a handful of western states in the US. Even more disturbing, Pace extended an individual sponsorship to a steer roper. Just how bad is steer roping? At the November 2004 steer roping finals in Amarillo, Texas, nine severely injured or dead animals had to be dragged out of the arena. A tenth staggered out while bleeding from the nose and mouth.
Don't yet know about the rodeo mafia? Go to www.RodeoCruelty.com
Many rodeos across the US have few paying spectators. This should hardly come as a surprise. People who care about animals don't attend rodeos. With sponsorship money from big companies like Pace Foods and its parent company Campbell Soup, however, rodeos can continue to abuse animals even without spectators in the stands, and that's just what is happening.
Campbell's/Pace sponsorship money also allowed rodeos to buy television time to air censored versions of rodeos that don't show calves being snapped backwards as they are roped, or steers injured and dragged in steer roping. Televised rodeos have injuries and deaths edited out too, all thanks to sponsorship money from corporate sponsors like Campbell Soup.
In spite of SHARK's voluminous rodeo cruelty documentation, Campbell's stood by its decision to support animal abusers for several years. This is in complete contradiction to over twelve years of SHARK investigations into rodeos. It should be mentioned that those investigations have resulted in 100's of local television news stories across the United States, as well as award-winning national and international documentaries. It has also resulted in formal charges of animal abuse being brought against rodeo producers.
Our repeated attempts to communicate with Campbell's were rebuffed. Additionally, Campbell's customer relations people both lied to and frustrated customers. Some customer relations people even told customers that theirs is the first rodeo complaint call they have received. Not only is this false, but SHARK's Tiger video truck actually spent three evenings at Campbell's headquarters in Camden, New Jersey, displaying graphic and compelling video of rodeo animal abuse on multiple one hundred inch movie screens. Everyone there knew about the Tiger's visit, and most everyone got to see the video documentation of rodeo animal abuse for themselves.
And that's not all. Campbell's customer relations people are actually telling customers to contact the PRCA with their concerns. This is a case of adding insult to injury, and amounts to public relations suicide. Calls to the PRCA are being met with stonewalling, rudeness, and even include instances of PRCA personnel hanging up on Campbell customers. The bottom line is that Campbell's couldn't defend its sponsorship of cruelty, and they further hung themselves by then expecting the animal abusers to somehow redeem its reputation.
Thankfully Campbells eventually saw the light and got out of the rodeo business. It was disappointing however to see them take so long.