Animal Legal Defense Fund Urges L.A. Ballpark to Drop Cruelly-Produced “Dodger Dogs”

Posted on May 14, 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.

Sincerely,

Stephen Wells, Executive Director