PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Sea Dogs minor league baseball team Tuesday refuted statements from animal welfare group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that the franchise ended a contract with Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster because of ethical concerns.

“While it is true that we will no longer be working with Linda Bean’s, we reached this decision based on business reasons, not in response to pressure from PETA,” a news release from the Eastern League affiliate of the Boston Red Sox stated Tuesday. “We are also in the process of finalizing a new provider of Maine lobster for this season.”

Team officials said the news release PETA issued Monday, alleging the Sea Dogs discontinued their deal with Bean’s lobster company because of concerns about what PETA described as inhumane processing techniques, prompted them to refute that claim.

“While we would normally not comment on a business decision of this sort, we wanted to set the record straight in light of PETA’s misleading press release,” the statement said.

The Sea Dogs contracted to sell Bean’s lobster products at Hadlock Field concession stands during the 2014 season.

PETA issued similar releases about other companies that have decided to end contracts with Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster. In July, the group said a purchaser of concessions for major league sports arenas dropped Linda Bean’s Lobster over ethical concerns, though a company spokeswoman declined to comment on the decision.

In response, Bean told the Bangor Daily News in July that PETA was launching a “full-scale attack on the lobster industry.”

PETA’s statement Monday alleged the decision was made in response to footage it obtained and released in September 2013 of Linda Bean’s Rockland plant. The group’s allegations at the time prompted a review from local law enforcement and state officials.

Knox County District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said later that month he would not pursue animal cruelty charges against the company.

The Sea Dogs open against the Reading Fightin Phils on Thursday, April 9 at Hadlock Field in Portland.


Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.