Copyright: The Dairy Education Board Text Only

Sunday, August 29, 1999


WARNING: Today's column portrays how bulls often meet their fate.    You might find this extremely distressing.

      Today's column is about a horrible cruelty to cows that most Americans, including dairymen, agree should no longer exist.

What do cows have in common with soda producers? The answer is shocking.

Somebody lied to me. It's either the Pepsi Company or the Coca Cola Company.

This is not about which product tastes better. It's about which company leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. One company is totally full of bull. By the end of this column, you'll learn which company deserves your praise and which deserves your outrage.


      Baby cows grow up to become adult cows. The females become milking machines. WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MALE OF THE SPECIES?

There are 9.4 million cows milked in America and every one of those cows must give birth to a baby so that the milk continues to flow. When cows no longer produce, they become steaks, hamburgers, and dog food. Half of the baby cows are raised to become future milk-producers. The other half are males.

Some of the baby males are raised to become breeders to insure that there will be more baby cows. Some never actually mount a female bovine. Their semen is collected by -- hmm, I don't know what they call those laborers. Talk about a job that I won't ever volunteer for!

Most of the baby male cows ultimately receive new names, like marsala and piccata, and scallopini. These animals are kept anemic, in very small stalls, so that their flesh does not develop muscles, and their meat can command high prices and be sold as veal. It's a cruel business, but Mexico's treatment of bulls takes animal cruelty and abuse to an extreme.


      The crowd cheers as a picador riding a blindfolded horse pokes a long sharp-tipped lance into the bull, twisting and turning his weapon so that muscle fibers are shredded and blood streams down the animal's back. This is not a ferocious bull. The animal frantically looks right and then left for a means to escape. There is none. It has no chance.

Horse and picador

Colorfully dressed banderilleros run out holding sharp, multicolored ribboned skewers, one in each hand, and forcefully plunge them deep into the animal's flesh.

The Plunge

Ole! That's the sound of an excited crowd responding to a matador's sword thrusting deep between the shoulder blades of an exhausted bull.

Ole! That's the roar of the bloodthirsty crowd as the bull collapses upon itself after the sword pierces its heart, gallons of blood spurting and gurgling out of its nose and mouth.

The dying

Ole! The crowd screams with pleasure as a co-conspirator slices through the spinal cord and the animal begins its deathly shudder.

The end?

Ole! One last roar as the honored assassin slices off first one ear, then another. Will he later eat these pieces of cartilage with salsa and chips or will they go into his trophy case?

Some animals still blink as they are dragged out of the ring by a team of horses.

The dead?


      Pepsi signs are scattered throughout bullfighting arenas. The Pepsi- Cola Company is a proud sponsor of this cruelty and carnage.


      I received a twenty-minute bullfighting tape from Lynne Wagner of SHARK, an animal-rights organization. The tape looks like an infomercial for Pepsi. There is so much Pepsi signage that one has to conclude that bullfighting exists thanks to Pepsi's sponsorship.

SHARK members expend a lot of time, money, and energy protesting Pepsi's continued involvement in the sponsorship of bullfights.

Bloody welcome Even the chairs!

I had to learn the truth.


      I called the Pepsi customer relations number and soon connected with Dave DeCecco, Manager of Public Relations.

Dave made it clear to me that Pepsi does not support bullfighting. He wrote in his August 24, 1998 letter:

"Our signs, our competitor's signs and other corporate signs are present in arenas . . .we don't control what goes on there."

Mr. DeCecco told me that the Coca Cola Company also has signs in bullfighting arenas. He asked, "Are we any worse or better than they are?"

I received a copy of a letter that the Coca Cola Company wrote to SHARK. That letter, dated July 28, 1999, was signed by Cristi Fernandes of Coke's Consumer Affairs Division. Fernandez wrote:

"You will be pleased to know that the group president for Latin America issued a policy several years ago stating that operations within Latin America should no longer sponsor or promote events where there is risk of physical harm to animals. This includes bullfighting. Be assured, the Mexican division recently confirmed that there are no exceptions."


I faxed a copy of that letter to Pepsi.

I called DeCecco and offered to bring the 20-minute tape to his office for his viewing pleasure. "Why not invite Pepsi's top executives to also view the tape?" I asked.

DeCecco declined that invitation.

DeCecco again explained why Pepsi was not really abusing animals.

"These are multi-event arenas," he said.

I asked:

"Name one other event that occurs in a typical bull-ring? They are not big enough for football or baseball games. Perhaps flea markets?"

DeCecco's response:

"These plazas also host concerts, plays and festivals."


Many American turistas travel to Mexico reading Hemingway's romantic tales of bullfighters on their flights. They come to see bloody bullfights, not listen to Mozart or watch Shakespeare.

The Plaza Del Toro is used for one purpose and one purpose only. It is used to kill bulls. They do not race cars or chariots, and they do not play cricket.

They kill bulls. There is a complete lack of compassion in this event.

Pepsi's letter claims that they do not support bullfighting. However, their signs are evidence of that support. They place blame upon others, like Coca Cola, whose official position is that they do not promote bullfighting.

Jennnifer McCollum of Coke says that they have no signs. Pepsi says that Coke is lying. Coke says that Pepsi is misinformed.

This planet has become a lot smaller since the INTERNET has been around.

Anybody going to Mexico? Do you know anyone in Mexico? Will you help send this column to someone who might have a friend or associate in Mexico?

If it's just Pepsi, let's send them a message to which they can relate.

Pepsi seems to care little for the rights of animals, brutally and savagely tortured before they are killed in one nation's bloodlust. They rationalize their signs because they appear in "multi-event arenas."

Pepsi cares a lot about selling their product.

SHARK (site no longer exists) called for a national boycott of Pepsi products.

Pepsi's toll-free number is: 877-321-0050
Coca Cola's toll-free number is: 800-438-2653

Robert Cohen author of:   MILK - The Deadly Poison
Executive Director
Dairy Education Board

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