Animal rights activists with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) waited in line for five hours to get a prime spot at the annual hotdog eating contest at Nathan’s in Brooklyn, and their patience – and willingness to be manhandled – paid off.
After the activists disrupted the event and got arrested (see video below), several TV and print media outlets in NYC ran stories, and dozens of newspapers around the country published an Associated Press story. Notably, the New York Post, a paper frequently hostile to animal rights activism, reported on why the activists protested:
Several international newspapers also covered the disruption. In Argentina, Flores Buenos Aires included the DxE statement from the NY Post article.
Animal rights activists have protested the infamous hotdog eating competition for the past several years, and have, each year, garnered at least some favorable media coverage. In 2016, the NY Daily News, another newspaper notoriously hostile to animal rights activists, published a story that included strong animal rights messages.
Ironically, the annual hotdog eating contest is held on Independence Day, in spite of the fact that the individuals who were consumed by the contestants spent their entire lives being held captive before being slaughtered.
Matt Cataldo, one of five activists who was arrested and later released with no charges, told TheirTurn, “These people who stuff dead animals down their throats, vomit into their own hands and then shove it back in are regarded as athletes, but they are lazy cowards — exploiting innocent animals for money and fame. There is no excuse for animal abuse, and we will never stop fighting for their freedom.”
When she was released from jail, Rocky Schwartz, who was handled aggressively by police, encouraged her followers on social media to take a stand for animals. “Are you supporting the system that says my friends and I should be handcuffed for speaking out against violence–the system that glorifies the exploitation and killing of animals–or are you fighting against it? Because that is the choice each of us has to make.”