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Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
29 November 2000 Issue

COKE WITHDRAWS MAJOR RODEO SPONSORSHIP
By Steve Hindi

Following talks between soft drink giant Coca-Cola and SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness), as well as other animal advocates over a period of weeks, Coke today [November 16] announced that it has severed ties with the world's largest rodeo organization, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).

In a letter dated today, addressed to Steve Hindi of SHARK, and Eric Mills of Action for Animals, Coke states:

"While our products may be available at some arenas where rodeos may take place, we are no longer a corporate sponsor of rodeos or any affiliated organizations, including the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA)."

A Coke representative announced the decision after viewing a documentary by French public television station ARTE. ARTE and SHARK worked together in October to obtain video footage of three PRCA stock contractors abusing animals and violating even the PRCA's loose humane regulations. ARTE's subsequent documentary was aired to over 33 million viewers in Europe.

Coke went out of its way to identify PRCA as an organization with which it no longer associates. This is a huge development, which will send shock waves through the corporate world. Coke's withdrawal poses a major public relations blow to the rodeo industry, as well as a financial loss. SHARK will reveal its next step in the campaign to end rodeo cruelty within a couple weeks.

On behalf of SHARK, I want to extend gratitude to Coca-Cola for its compassionate decision. Also deserving of gratitude and recognition for enabling this wonderful development is Simon Billiness, Senior Analyst for Trillium Asset Management Corporation, and Animal People Editor Merritt Clifton.

Mr. Clifton facilitated communication between Mr. Billiness and me. Mr. Billiness then sparked talks between Coke and SHARK. Coke's withdrawal from rodeos came about as a result of dialogue as opposed to demonstrations, based on building mutual respect and trust.

Dr. Peggy Larson also gave invaluable assistance, giving a veterinary point of view to Coke regarding the inherent cruelty to animals at the hands of the rodeo industry.

Coke's withdrawal is especially impressive given the reluctance of even some "humane" organizations to deal with the issue of rodeos, and the outright refusal of governmental agencies such as the Illinois Department of Agriculture to prosecute rodeo animal abuse.

Please give Coca-Cola a quick call to express your appreciation by calling 404-676-2121 during eastern business hours.

SHARK also encourages letters of appreciation to the following people:

Merritt Clifton, Editor, Animal People anmlpepl@whidbey.com
(Mr. Clifton can also forward your appreciation to Simon Billiness)

Uwe Muller, producer of the ARTE documentary exposing rodeos
<UL-MULLER@arte-tv.com>

Dr. Peggy Larson < Meowvet@aol.com>

Source: Steve Hindi - SHARK
shindi@sharkonline.org

Go on to Book Review - When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals
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