I would hazard a guess that most Canadians have at least heard of The Calgary Stampede. What little kid did not imagine being a cowboy or cowgirl(if you were raised in the fifties as I was) wearing a ten gallon hat, sporting spurs, chaps, a toy gun filled holster, pretending to ride a horse, rope a cow, kill bandits, while whistling along to Roy Rogers singing “Happy Trails to You”? Sound familiar? I don’t even know if today’s kids aspire to be the lasso champion in their crowd or even if my peers are still pining after their unfulfilled childhood dreams.
What I do know is that we can all be cowboys and cowgirls for ten days a year just by buying a ticket to this inglorious rodeo. If you go you can watch any number of events involving the routine victimization of species other than humans. Heck, you can even watch it on TV compliments of the CBC. Some of the wonderful (horrific) events and competitions to which you are treated are barrel racing, calf roping, steer wrestling, goat tying, bronc riding, bull riding, wild cow milking and the chuck wagon race.
For the sake of clarity, let’s look at the description of one of these events. I choose calf roping because I have seen pictures lately of this beastly competition.
Calf roping (also called tie-down roping): In this timed event a calf is goaded (often includes tail-twisting, kicking or knocking the calf’s head against the bars; electric shock devices are sometimes used) into the arena, followed by a horse and rider. The calf, which runs at speeds averaging 27 miles per hour, is roped around the neck and jerked to a sudden stop. If the animal struggles to his feet he will be lifted up and thrown down to the ground by the rider, who then ties three of calf’s feet together.
Can you, in your wildest dreams imagine doing this to an innocent baby? Well, this is exactly what happens routinely at The Calgary Stampede and other events of its ilk. There is actually an association which oversees and sanctions this abhorrent mistreatment of non human animals. We should be greatly relieved (not) that we have the CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION to look out for the interests of all beings who are raced, roped, ridden, injured, made a spectacle of and often killed for our personal viewing entertainment and for the profit of the organizers, retailers and participants.
Here is what the CPRA has to say:
The CPRA is committed to maintaining the highest standards that ensure every CPRA-sanctioned event is managed with fairness and competence, and the livestock used is healthy and cared-for to the highest standards.
The phrase “livestock used” in reference to the animals says it all. Their sentience ignored, they are robbed of choice, freedom and respect. This is, without a doubt, appalling and completely unconscionable.
According to the Vancouver Humane Society:
Rodeo events are not covered by Canadian animal cruelty laws because historically they are considered “generally accepted practices of animal management” for the treatment of livestock….even though it is merely an entertainment.
Without the protection of current federal or provincial law, rodeo animals can only have their treatment mitigated by municipal bylaws, which can prohibit certain types of business, activities or events within their boundaries. Otherwise it is a matter of rodeo organizations voluntarily making changes to their events (usually under pressure from public opinion).
So far this year, two horses have been injured in the barbarous chuck wagon races. Subsequently they were euthanized (euphemism for killed or murdered, if you will). Fines were levied against the drivers who were deemed by the chuckwagon safety committee, to be at fault.
The VHS states on their website that:
Nearly 50 chuck wagon horses have been killed at the Calgary Stampede since 1986, mainly due to crash injuries and heart attacks brought on by stress. The considerable risk of injury and death to horses has made this event highly controversial but it remains one of the main attractions at the Stampede.
In a CTV news report, the number of animals listed as killed at this vile rode between 1986 and 2013, is in excess of 90.
*NOTE** There are literally thousands and thousands of animals used behind the scenes to perfect the “cowboys” rodeo skills. These figures do NOT include animals that were injured and/or killed for these practices.
If we don’t say no now, when will the right time be?
Write and e-mail the Stampede, CBC, and other rodeos in this nation and other countries.
Write your politicians and tell them to stop wearing cowboy hats at Stampede time. This only serves to glorify and reinforce the correctness and fun of violence towards others.
Check out SHARK and let’s get informed about this and other atrocities being perpetrated in the name of money, fun, food, clothing, education….and the list goes on.
Sign the petition at Care2 Petitions and have your voice be heard.
Annie’s Vegan View
” ….What message does rodeo give to the public, especially children? Most civilized societies rank kindness to animals amongst the highest behavioural values of humankind. From St. Francis of Assisi to Gandhi to the Dalai Lama, great moral figures have cited compassion toward animals as an essential human virtue. No one could argue that rodeo demonstrates kindness or compassion to animals. On the contrary, rodeo explicitly condones and glorifies violence and brutality toward animals.The only message that rodeo can therefore give to society is that it is acceptable to treat animals brutally. For children, this is surely an undesirable moral lesson.”
My view is that of the VHS. The moment we believe that it is our right to enslave animals for our own personal use, we open the door to all manner of abuse.
May all beings be happy and free.