How Are Rodeos Cruel to Animals?
I live in cattle country, people love their rodeos and defend them like a son of a gun. Despite this rodeos are cruel. Most of the animals do not “want” to be there, the cattle in particular, bucking stock, and miniature horses used in the wild pony events, are often terrified. Noting that rodeos are cruel is simply stating a fact, to deny that the animals are not scared, and sometimes hurt, is wrong.
Most rodeos are well aware of criticism and try very hard to limit injury to the animals, but some injuries are simply the name of the game.
Let us examine some of the rodeo events and see where they can be considered somewhat cruel.
Saddle Bronc and Bareback
In these events cowboys try to stay on a bucking horse for a total of 8 seconds. Not only do horses wear a tight strap (it tightens as they leave the gate) around their flank that causes them to buck, but the cowboys are given “points” for how well they rake their spurs on the horse's shoulders.
Wild Pony Racing
In wild pony racing teams of kids try to catch a “wild pony”; typically these are miniature horses. The horses are terrified, and run due to fear. The goal is to get one of the kids onto the back of the horse and to stay on for a certain period of time.
Wild Cow Milking
As with the wild pony races, a terrified cow is chased by a group of people whose aim it is to pin her in position and get a small amount of milk out of her.
Calf Roping Events
There are several events in which the goal is to rope a calf. These are quite scary for the calf and although uncommon, some animals do die as a result of injury in these events.
These are races in which teams of horses pull a “chuckwagon” around a marked course and around a race track, several outriders also race. There have been many horse deaths and injuries during chuckwagon events.
Other Facts of Interest
Rodeos are not only dangerous to the animals, but also to cowboys as well, several have died or been injured competing in rodeo events.
Many events seen at rodeos were purely invented for entertainment and serve no purpose in real life. For example bull riding is not something cowboys normally do. Chuckwagon races were introduced in 1923 as a rodeo invent, while steer wrestling was introduced in 1930, again for the rodeo. Source Link
It is thought that many more animals are killed or injured at home, on the farm, while cowboys are training for events.
Concerns are often raised that the animals are treated no differently than commodities to use and abuse to make money.
Nobody would allow cats or dogs to be treated in the manner in which rodeo animals are treated.
How to Protest Rodeos
People who are against rodeos, or against certain rodeo events, should not attend them. As well a person should learn who are the rodeo sponsors and contact those companies asking them to withdraw funding. In the past some active campaigns have resulted in certain rodeos dropping some of the more cruel events. For example the Cloverdale rodeo in British Columbia dropped four of its events (including wild cow milking and calf roping) in 2009 after being pressured by the Vancouver Humane Society.