The cruelty of Rodeos

Rodeos are often seen as impressive feats of human bravery and skill in conquering the fierce and untamed animals of the Wild West. In reality, modern-day rodeos are no more than displays of human dominance over animals, camouflaged as entertainment. What began as a skill competition by cowboys in the 1800s quickly became a show of power and brutality, causing unnecessary suffering and death to animals.

Rodeo events are notorious for causing animals pain, fear, and even death. Helpless animals are lassoed, wrestled, or roped to the ground in cruel bucking, wrestling, and roping competitions. The animals used in rodeo events are captive performers. Physically provoked by electric prods and bucking straps, they are abused to look angry and aggressive. While this may make their cowboys look quite brave, it is nothing but sheer animal cruelty. When animals aren’t actively performing in a rodeo, they spend a significant amount of time cooped up in trailers, being moved from one rodeo to the next. This is a life no animal should live. 

Rodeos can also contribute to the normalization of violence toward animals, especially for young children. Kids who grow up surrounded by cheering masses of people watching animals being tortured will have no reason to assume it is not okay!

The Calgary Stampede is one such event that needs to change.  More than 70 horses have died at this event alone since 1986. Horses often suffer heart attacks or break legs and are euthanized. Calves often break bones when thrown in rope events. Many studies have shown that animals involved in the brutal roping event show visible signs of anxiety and fear during the event and elevated levels of stress hormones following the event. The Calgary Stampede’s deadliest event, the chuckwagon race, was brought back this year even though six horses were killed during the event in 2019.

It is time for law enforcement to crack down on animal cruelty at rodeo events. We need to push for stronger laws to protect the helpless rodeo animals. Together, we can end the rodeo’s abusive and cruel practices! 

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