February 24, 2005
By: Bill Duhart
The video looped repeatedly, showing scenes of cattle being violently jerked from their hooves in rodeos.
Far from entertaining, the film was meant to shock - and it did, slowing traffic Wednesday evening outside Campbell Soup Co.'s headquarters.
An animal-rights group launched a protest at the site with a four-sided video truck showing scenes of what they said was cruel and inhumane treatment of some rodeo animals.
The group, Showing Animals Respect & Kindness, wants Pace - a Campbell subsidiary that makes salsa and other food products - to withdraw as a sponsor of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association, the largest sanctioning body of professional rodeo.
But officials from Campbell and the PRCA say the animal-rights group's video doesn't tell the whole story.
The company and the rodeo association both claim the animals are maintained well and that very few are injured in events.
"We share SHARK's concern for the welfare of animals used in rodeos," said Campbell spokesman John Faulkner. "However, we believe that the members of the professional rodeo association provide excellent care to their horses and livestock."
SHARK's Steve Hindi - who, along with one other member of his group, conducted Wednesday's protest - said the video truck was a last resort. He said his group tried writing Campbell and PRCA but their appeals were ignored.
"They claim to be an ethical company, but yet they're involved with the rodeo," said Hindi, who owns a rivet company in Geneva, Ill., where SHARK is based. "We're just throwing an issue out here and letting the people make up their own mind."