There probably won’t be many PETA members wearing Yoenis Cespedes jerseys in the Citi Field stands this season.
The group that advocates the ethical treatment of animals was not pleased with the New York Mets outfielder’s decision to send a pig he recently bought to the butcher, per Mike Puma of the New York Post.
Puma noted the 270-pound pig cost Cespedes $7,000 at an auction at a local fair and passed along the statement from PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange:
Yoenis Cespedes can afford $7,000 out of his own pocket, and this loving, loyal and clever pig is paying the real price with his life. It’s a shame that Cespedes dropped the ball here and missed the opportunity to send this pig to a sanctuary, where he could have lived out his days in peace.
We’re sending Cespedes some delicious vegan bacon in the hope that he’ll open his heart, not clog it with pig fat.
While it may seem like a cruel fate for the pig, Pumpa reported a Mets spokesman said Florida state law requires a hog bought at an auction to be slaughtered. However, Cespedes owns an 88-acre ranch in Vero Beach, Florida, which led to something of a twist, per Puma:
But earlier in the day, an official with Indian River County Community Development—the government office that oversees laws regarding livestock in Vero Beach—told The Post there is no law prohibiting Cespedes from keeping the pig, as long as it’s on a farm or ranch and not in a residential neighborhood.
Sporting News MLB shared a look at the pig:
Sporting News MLB @SN_Baseball
Yoenis Cespedes visits county fair, buys prize-winning hog https://t.co/xW1HXe33kp https://t.co/9XPmMF2tSS2016-3-1 00:30:45
Cespedes may be in a pork-related mess off the field now that PETA has weighed in on his purchase, but his on-field importance for the Mets is unquestionable. The Mets acquired the outfielder by trade from the Detroit Tigers at the deadline, and he proceeded to hit 17 homers in 57 games with a .942 OPS.
He finished the 2015 campaign with a career-high 35 home runs and 105 RBI and provided a jump-start to a New York offense that struggled to match its impressive pitching staff in the first half of the season. He also won a Gold Glove Award as a two-way star who was responsible for 11 total defensive runs saved above average in the outfield, per FanGraphs.
New York has World Series-or-bust expectations in 2016 after reaching the Fall Classic last year and falling just short, and Cespedes’ continued superstardom in the outfield is a major reason.
No word yet on if the Mets will eat pork or vegan bacon during the ensuing celebration if they win that championship.