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Is There Any Corporation I Shouldn’t Be Boycotting?

This is one of those days when I have to buy a couple of things and I wonder: Is there any store I can go to that’s near me where I can feel like I’m not compromising at least one strongly-held principle as soon as I walk in the door. (Okay, maybe not by walking in the door, but definitely by buying something.) And when I get my mail and pay my bills, say, our household cellular phone bill, even that is a compromise. So not only is it impossible to leave the house and go shopping without compromise, but I can’t even stay in the house without compromise.

Let’s take that cell phone bill. We use AT&T/Cingular Wireless, which I have recently come to despise because they are now sponsoring rodeos, along with Coca-Cola, the United States Army, Jack Daniels, Wrangler (shocker!) and DaimlerChrysler (so they make the $400,000 Maybach and fund the crippling of calfs? What exactly is their mission, I wonder?)

If there were ever a, um, "sport," that needed to be retired, like yesterday, it’s the rodeo. It is a hideously senseless and cruel combination of events. And anyone who denies that simply doesn’t know the facts or seen the footage. The folks at SHARK have plenty of footage, photos and other evidence of the wanton cruelty that defines rodeo. Defines. The cruelty isn’t an accidental byproduct or an infrequent mistake. The cruelty is the point. The cruelty is the centerpiece.

When I look at the photos and footage, what disturbs me as much as the animals being tortured is that grown humans bring their children to these events and give them front row seats to horrifying cruelty, as if it’s entertaining. (The photo below is from calf roping. How on earth can someone think that would be entertaining for a child to watch? How can someone think that child won’t be permanently scarred from watching such a "sport?")


Rodeo is one of those things that exists because it existed yesterday: because it is part of our "culture." For me, there’s something quite sick about harming animals for the fun of it. The intention is to harm them (although pro-rodeo folk love to say things like: "it’s fun for [the animals], they enjoy it, it’s their natural instincts to do that sort of stuff"–check out that and more here--and make sure no children are reading over your shoulder as it gets very offensive).

How can we ever hope to get people to think using animals for food is not ethical when they think that using animals for abuse is ethical and entertaining?

Check out the list of corporations (and bands, like Bon Jovi) that sponsor rodeos, contact them, and let  them know how you feel.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mary,

    Thank you for posting this hideous event. Thank you also for all of the links you have provided us with, so that we can begin a letter writing campaign. For a year I wrote Starbucks weekly and for a couple of years Pace and Campbell soup. We too have AT&T cingular and have coke in the house for guests. It's extremely frustrating, as you say, to no longer know if we are contributing to animal suffering by the products we use. I think we would have to go live in a cave like the rebellious little gnome Benjamin Lay, to not contribute to the abuse of animals in one way or another. To see children at these events is unbelievable and to know that they are being desensitized to the abuse at such an early age.

    August 18, 2007
  2. prad #

    good post mary!
    i've found SHARK to be a good organization led by ar hall-of-famer steve hindi.

    regarding 'compromise', one just needs to do the best one can. there are many products one can let go of (and are better off for doing so) and some that are more awkward to give up. with the latter, the threat of not buying is often more effective than not actually buying it … after all, a company usually doesn't want to lose existing customers.

    regarding 'culture', that was an excellent way you put it "Rodeo is one of those things that exists because it existed yesterday". tradition is a curious bauble some people cling to forgetting that that it has never been a justification for existence; rather it has almost always bourne the seeds of extinction.

    August 18, 2007

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