Animal Legal Defense Fund Urges L.A. Ballpark to Drop Cruelly-Produced "Dodger Dogs"May 14th, 2007
Dodgers Sponsor and Hot Dog Purveyor Farmer John® Under Fire in
California Lawsuit Aimed to Stop Illegal Abuse of Thousands of Pigs
Los Angeles, Calif. – The Animal Legal Defense Fund sent a letter to L.A. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt this morning, notifying him that Farmer John® brand meat products, which provides baseball fans with Dodger Stadium’s top-selling “Dodger Dogs,” is being targeted in a lawsuit for selling pork products from pigs raised in intensive confinement conditions that violate California law. Farmer John® is supplied by Corcpork, Inc., the state’s largest industrial pig farming operation.
Farmer John® boasts the assembly of its products has been “a family tradition since 1931;” ALDF’s lawsuit alleges that Tulare County’s Corcpork, Inc. keeps its roughly 9,000 pregnant and nursing mother pigs in violation of Section 597t of the California Penal Code, which requires that “every person who keeps an animal confined in an enclosed area shall provide it with an adequate exercise area.” At Corcpork, the sows spend virtually their entire lives crammed into stalls that are often so small that the sows’ bodies are forced into the bars at either end. Confined in these restrictive “gestation crates” (used during pregnancy) and “farrowing crates” (used during nursing), these highly sensitive animals are forced to endure intensive confinement, boredom, isolation, and a constant cycle of pregnancy followed almost immediately after giving birth by impregnation, until their bodies finally give out.
A copy of ALDF’s letter to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt follows:
May 14, 2007
Frank McCourt, Chairman
Los Angeles Dodgers
1000 Elysian Park Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012-1199
Dear Mr. McCourt:
Dodger fans have a lot to be proud of in the recent renovations and upgrades at Dodger Stadium. Most would be shocked to learn, however, that the mustard-crowned Dodger Dog—the stadium’s top-selling concession—is a frankfurter with a shameful secret.
Farmer John®, the meat brand behind the stadium’s famous foodstuff, is also a defendant in a lawsuit filed by several California residents and the national non-profit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). The lawsuit seeks to end the cruel confinement of pregnant and nursing mother pigs, whose babies are destined to become Farmer John® franks. The plaintiffs claim this practice is in clear violation of California anti-cruelty laws. On behalf of ALDF’s more than one hundred thousand members and supporters, more than 19,000 of whom reside in Los Angeles, we are asking the Dodgers to cut all ties with Farmer John® and their illegally-produced pork products.
ALDF’s lawsuit calls out California’s largest industrial pig-farming operation, Corcpork, Inc.—which is linked to Farmer John® brand pork products—for confining thousands of female pigs in “gestation crates” so tiny that they cannot turn around or even scratch. The lawsuit also names Farmer John® for misleading the public about the treatment of their pigs and the cruelty included in every bite. Notably, North America’s top pork producers Smithfield Foods and Maple Leaf Foods have recently announced plans to phase out the use of gestation crates, and McDonald’s and Burger King are taking very public steps to increase their purchases from providers who do not keep their animals in such intensive confinement. Meanwhile, Corcpork refuses to join its competitors and raise its animals more humanely, while the producers of Farmer John® products hide the truth by claiming they are made in “a family tradition.”
Dodger Stadium has been lauded for its concessions offerings, and we’re delighted to note selections like hummus wraps and even veggie dogs are available for health-conscious baseball fans. As more and more consumers demand higher welfare standards for the animals raised for their food, please ensure that the Los Angeles Dodgers avoid the stigma of being associated with Farmer John® and its cruelly-produced pork products.
Stephen Wells, Executive Director