The idea for my post about The Calgary Stampede came from my friend and fellow vegan, Karen Messier. She is a passionate supporter of the rights of nonhuman animals and she becomes particularly and justifiably indignant when it comes to other species being used for the supposed entertainment of humans. She calls it a rant and it is here that I beg to differ with her. Depending on the online dictionary one chooses to check, a rant can be classified as speaking in a loud impassioned way to
talking loudly and in a way that shows anger : to complain in a way that is unreasonable.
Karen is speaking up when others may not and is definitely not complaining in any way that could be deemed unreasonable. She has much to protest in the name of animal rights, all the while advocating not only for the end to cruelty, but also for a definitive end to other species being enslaved and used for our entertainment. So, Karen dear friend, if you are reading this, call yourself a spokesperson, a defender, even outspoken, but never say you are ranting. Nothing could be further from the truth!
So, with Karen’s recent advocacy for horses forced to run in the deathly and hideous chuck-wagon races at this ignominious rodeo, I decided it was time to throw my hat in the ring and to help out with spreading the word about this particular issue. I learned a lot, some of it fact and some of it half truths couched in dodging, pontificating, fudging and evading. None of this doublespeak is more evident than in a recent interview on CBC with Kurt Kadatz, director of Community Engagement and Communications at The Calgary Stampede.
KUDTAZ DOUBLESPEAK PARAPHRASED
1) Let’s begin with the language he used. I would call it euphemistic because it makes:
...the bad seem good, the negative seem positive, the unnatural seem natural, the unpleasant seem attractive, or at least tolerable. It is language which avoids, shifts or denies responsibility. It conceals or prevents thought.
|KADTAZ EUPHEMISM||THE REALITY|
|Equine athletes||Horses forced to run in competitions|
|Working animals||Worked animals|
|Career horses||Horses trained to perform specific tasks for profit|
|Iconic Event||Barbaric Chuck Wagon Race|
2) Kadatz’s language makes it seem that the horses like and therefore choose to risk their lives racing for the sport and entertainment of humans, that they choose a career path and enjoy working at it. That sounds like a crock to me. No one would argue that horses love to run when they are free to do so when they wish and how they wish and that their speed helps to protect them from natural predators. Now that I am thinking of it, I imagine that they would run like hell if they could from the unnatural predators who own them, yet say they treat them like members of their own family-laughable! How can you treat someone you own like family? Declaring ownership of a living being and using said being at will for whatever purpose is slavery.
3) Yes, there will be a Safety Study on the deaths of 5 horses in the Chuck Wagon races at this year’s Stampede , but it will likely not start before late summer or fall. Kadatz goes on to say that their options and focus must first be considered and determined, and could not say whether this would be an internal or third party review and could not speculate on what the review would reveal. Doesn’t sound to me like they intend to be very focused or proactive at all and certainly not timely, considering that plans for the 2016 Stampede must already be well under way.
4) Kadatz is quoting a member of The Animal Care Advisory Council at the Stampede when he says:
The only way to erase any animal welfare issues absolutely is to have no animals.
Kadatz comment on this is as follows:
This is obviously an extreme position.
And not one this cowgirl thinks the powers to be at The Calgary Stampede would ever voluntarily consider considering.
5) The purpose of The Calgary Stampede is to put people back in touch with “working” animals. Kadatz refers to this as “where urban meets rural”. In other words, this interaction has been lost over the years along with the understanding of what “working” (there is that description again) animals do. In a sense, Kadatz intimates that The Stampede is an educational program for urban cowgirls and cowboys and is therefore similar in scope to their other educational programs which are carried out throughout the year through their not for profit organization. Kadatz stresses this philanthropic aspect of The Calgary Stampede, no doubt to steer focus away from the use and abuse of animals without their consent.
6) When asked if the significantly reduced (100,000) attendance at The Calgary Stampede could be attributed to the controversy, main stream media coverage and the protest surrounding the infamous chuck wagon races, Kurtz replied that the main factors were actually the cool economic environment and the variable and sometimes poor weather during the ten days of the rodeo.
7) In closing Kadatz states that when a horse dies at The Stampede, the understanding of how and why a horse participates is not fully understood by the average lay person. We just do not get that:
All equestrian events have some kind of inherent risk.
The Calgary Stampede has leading industry protocols in place to reduce the incidence of preventable accidents.
The rate of death in chuck wagon races at the Stampede is less than that of the horse racing in the United States.
I don’t know the rate of which he speaks, but it would seem to me that there are more horses raced in the United States in one year than in the chuck wagon event in Calgary, so the rate of death must be higher by virtue of numbers…just saying.
I invite you to tune in to Mr. Kadatz’s verbal tap dance around the issue of whether or not it is abusive to enslave animals and to force them to perform at great risk, for our viewing pleasure.
Annie’s Vegan View
Let’s keep up the pressure for it will be next year before we know it and more horses will die, more animals will be disrespected and abused at The Calgary Stampede.
The only solution is dissolution!
May all beings be happy and free.