16 January 2012

Petition aims to stop controversial Skechers Super Bowl ad featuring greyhound racing

From the company that brought us Shape-ups (the sneakers that have a tendency to make one look like a Herman Munster wannabe) comes another, much more severe abomination to mankind.

Where those shoes were simply an atrocity on a superficial level, insulting only our fashion senses, Skechers is now aiming to insult our moral and ethical sensibilities. The company is planning on airing a Super Bowl ad for its new GOrun shoes that was filmed at Tucson Greyhound Park, an Arizona dog racing track, and features greyhound racing, an activity banned in 38 states.

But a non-profit greyhound protection group, GREY2K USA, is doing something about it. The organization recently launched a campaign on the social change platform Change.org urging individuals to sign a petition asking Skechers not to air the controversial ad. Currently, the petition has more than 105,000 signatures.

“Skechers should not be partnering with Tucson Greyhound Park, which has an extensive record of cruelty,” said GREY2K USA President and General Counsel Christine Dorchak, who started the campaign on Change.org. “Tucson Greyhound Park is perhaps the most infamous dog track in the country, and multiple cases of neglect occurred only weeks prior to the shoot. We are hopeful that the company will hear our concerns, realize its mistake, and withdraw this misguided promotion of dog racing.”

Grey2K USA has also launched a "Boycott Skechers" website and is planning a protest at the Skechers store in Tucson.

In a USA Today article, the CEO of the track, Tom Taylor, reportedly said the cages are "among the largest in the country" and "animal activists would like the cages to be 12 feet by 12 feet, with couches and TVs."

Actually, Tommy, we'd like it if your abhorrent activities involving greyhounds were simply banned in all 50 states.

According to that same article, The American Humane Association says no animals were harmed in the making of the ad. Key words there are "in the making of the ad." What about all the dogs who spend their days in squalor, being pushed to the limit with essentially no regard for their well-being?

The commercial is reported to feature a French bulldog wearing the company's shoes racing against a pack of greyhounds. And in that USA Today article, the president of Skechers Fitness, Leonard Armato, claims that it is "simply a metaphor for a remarkable, underdog achievement."

But regardless of what the commercial is for or is aiming to do, it's a blatant endorsement of a simply barbaric activity.

Stephanie DeBalko | @_stephanied_
Stephanie is a freelance writer who loves shelter dogs and Vegenaise. She recently came to the conclusion that the written word could be an amazing ally for all animals, and is choosing to use her nerdy love of grammar and punctuation for the greater good of animal welfare. She can also be found at I Hope Vodka Is Vegan.

Photo credit:cc: flickr.com/photos/clayirving and flickr.com/photos/stevearis