Nike just did it. It suspended its contract with Michael Vick late Friday afternoon. Nike is a tough corporation and rarely bows to pressure on any issue. Its accommodation to the public’s demands shows both the depth of revulsion Americans have for animal cruelty and the power of The HSUS. More than 165,000 of you wrote through our website to Nike, and urged it to drop Vick while this legal shadow hangs over his head.
Here’s is Nike’s complete statement:
Nike has suspended Michael Vick’s contract without pay, and will not sell any more Michael Vick product at Nike owned retail at this time. As we’ve said before, Nike is concerned by the serious and highly disturbing allegations made against Michael Vick and we consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and abhorrent. However, we do believe that Michael Vick should be afforded the same due process as any citizen in the United States, therefore, we have not terminated our relationship.
Good news this time came in threes. Reebok, the official jersey sales company of the NFL, was first in the day on Friday to drop Vick, taking the unprecedented step of halting its sale of Vick’s No. 7 jersey. And two top trading card companies also put a stop to selling Vick’s likeness in its products.
While the Vick case will remain a key focus of The HSUS, even more important is our broader campaign against any organized animal fighting. At the same time, other urgent work continues in earnest and requires your active participation if we are to prevail. And on that note, I want to call you to action again.
Last week, as I reported on the blog, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two key HSUS reforms on the Farm Bill—one to ban "random source" dealers from selling cats and dogs to research institutions and the other to ban the use of live animals in marketing demonstrations. Early this week, another agriculture-related bill comes to the floor—the Agriculture Appropriations bill, which provides funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its programs for the 2008 fiscal year. It contains an animal protection provision that we must defend.
Language has been included in the committee’s version of the bill to defund efforts to slaughter horses for human consumption or to transport them to Canada or Mexico for that purpose. The horse slaughter industry and its allies in agribusiness may move to eliminate that provision. I am hoping you will call your U.S. Representative and urge support for the horse slaughter ban and opposition to any effort to strip horse protections from the Agriculture Appropriations bill. Please call your Representative at 202-225-3121 and say you are a member of The Humane Society of the United States, that you oppose the slaughter of horses, and you oppose any effort to strip the entire anti-slaughter provision from the Agriculture Appropriations bill.
On Saturday, I appeared on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal. I spoke for about a half-hour on HSUS activities, including the horse slaughter issue. You can watch the program and learn more about horse slaughter and other animal protection laws we’re working on here (look for the July 28 segment).