In between hitting line drive homers and almost getting beaned in the dome, the Phillies’ Shane Victorino enjoys himself a Spam musubi every once in a while. And, of course, PETA is all bent out of shape over it.
A musubi is a piece of Spam and a small block of rice wrapped in seaweed and is one of the most popular food items in Victorino’s home state of Hawaii. To the calm, rational folks at PETA, though, if you eat one you might as well be jamming a fork into a pig’s face. They’re looking for Victorino to condemn the treatment of pigs at a farm that supplies meat to Spam-maker Hormel. Thus far, he’s doing what most people do when PETA’s badgering them — ignoring them.
The HONOLULU STAR-BULLETIN has fallen for the PR stunt, if only because it gives them another excuse to write about the Flyin’ Hawaiian.
Dan Shannon, PETA’s assistant director, wrote an email to Victorino explaining that some pigs were treated poorly before they were killed and turned into a tasty treat:
“While Spam might be a popular foodstuff in your native Hawaii, before you take another cholesterol-packed bite, let me tell you about the horrific abuse of animals at the hands of Spam’s pork suppliers,” he wrote.
In an interview, Shannon said he decided to write Victorino a letter after learning the player had listed Spam musubi - featuring a slice of meat wrapped with seaweed on top of rice - as one of his favorite dishes in a TV sports show.
“We found some hideous cruelty to animals,” Shannon said of the video, which showed multiple pigs being beaten with metal gate rods and two men jabbing clothespins into pigs’ eyes and faces.
While Victorino in’t particularly well-known outside of Philly on the mainland, he’s a major celebrity in Hawaii, where the newspapers have run articles about him nearly every day since the beginning of the MLB playoffs. The islands haven’t been this baseball-mad since Benny Agbayani went to the World Series with the Mets in 2000.
Shannon said that he’s calling on Victorino to publicly decry the conditions at the farm and/or give up eating Spam. But in a state where jamming a stick through an entire pig and letting it rotate for a while is considered a “party,” PETA might be fighting a losing battle here. Of the 61 comments left in response to the STAR-BULLETIN’s story, about 58 of them ended with “I’m gonna go eat some Spam now.”