"May we be guided by our compassionate hearts rather than our cultural habits." Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Bucking the Myth The Cruel Reality of Rodeos
Letter to the Editor Condemn the Rodeo
Written By CASTRO VALLEY FORUM
Is California on its way to banning rodeos? Behind the growing movement to buck the event
BY SUSANNE RUSTSTAFF WRITER
Los Angeles Times, November 13, 2022
California rodeo animals face violent and deadly casualties: Broken backs, legs and skulls
December 7, 2022, Los Angeles Times
Rodeo: busting up the animals in Nativity scenes in the name of Jesus Christ
JANUARY 17, 2022 BY MERRITT CLIFTON
by Eric Mills, coordinator, Action for Animals, Oakland, California
Though "steer roping" (aka "busting," "jerking," or "tripping") is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), the event is seen in only 10 states, all in the West: Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas.
Rhode Island outlawed both steer roping and tie-down calf roping in 1999. Others should follow suit.
Steer roping (not to be confused with team roping) involves a mounted cowboy roping the head of a running steer, throwing the rope over the steer's right haunch, then jerking the hapless animal 180 degrees, with the intent of stunning the steer, so that the cowboy can dismount and tie three legs.
ACTION FOR ANIMALS
OPINION - COMMENTARY
Opinion: Time to stop inhumane and abusive rodeo events
Alameda County supervisors should ban Mutton Busting, Wild Cow Milking and Goat Tying
By RENÉ GANDOLFI, DVM
PUBLISHED: February 12, 2019 at 6:10 a.m. | UPDATED: February 12, 2019 at 6:13 a.m.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors met last month to consider banning rodeo events that are inhumane and overtly abusive to animals. Three key events were considered for the ban but, despite valid arguments from experts, the board allowed two of them to continue.
As a veterinarian practicing in California for 40 years, I have training and experience in animal anatomy, physiology and behavior. I have subscribed to American Veterinary Medical Association principles that animals should be cared for in ways that minimize fear, pain, stress and suffering.
I think most people agree with these principles. If I were to violate them—by intentionally causing pain or making an animal fearful—I’d probably lose my license to practice. And justifiably so, especially if I did it as entertainment (though I must question how hurting an animal or making it run in fear for its life can be entertaining).
But that’s exactly what happens during events at locally held rodeos, events that have been officially sanctioned by our elected officials. Like Mutton Busting, Wild Cow Milking and Goat Tying.
In Mutton Busting, children (usually ages 4-7) attempt to ride sheep in the same way that adult contestants ride bucking broncos. The term “busting” is used even though sheep are neither wild nor animals usually ridden in the first place.
And that’s where the abuse factor comes in: These are not animals with bodies shaped for being ridden. So they are more likely to be injured and distressed by having a child riding them. Fortunately, the county board decided this event was sufficiently abusive that it should be banned. Regrettably, not so for the other abusive events.
In a Wild Cow Milking contest, the animal suffers stress and fear after being chased around a noisy arena, harassed by two “cowboys” trying to rope her, drag her, then grab her just to get a few drops of milk.
In Goat Tying events, the young animals are held around the neck by a staked rope, then charged at by a young cowboy or cowgirl, lifted up and roughly thrown to the ground, their legs then tied together with a cord
and then left to lay in the dirt unable to move. Again the animal suffers—fear for sure, pain probably, because if I threw a dog on its side like that I know I’d likely be having to take an X-ray to make sure I didn’t cause a lung to collapse.
Proponents of continuing these events say they are part of a tradition and a way for children to learn about the heritage of ranching in America. What backers fail to admit is that none of these events are common ranch practices. What they fail to realize is that children who participate in these events are being taught that disregard for animal suffering, physical and psychological, is to be cheered and promoted.
Many traditions in this country deserve our whole-hearted support. And through the years, we’ve deemed many traditions no longer acceptable. They’re part of our heritage but we’ve moved on to a more civilized society.
We used to allow child labor; it made perfect sense back then. We used to prohibit women from voting, but it’s not acceptable now. As recently as my graduation from vet school, we didn’t think animals experienced much pain after surgery and we didn’t send home pain medications. I’m proud of my profession’s heritage but some things are best relegated to history.
It’s time to advocate for proper treatment of all animals. There are many rodeo events that can continue to honor the heritage of the American West, and can show the newer generations about ranching and farming. To ban these three events poses no threat to the rodeos, to the farmers and ranchers, or to the public.
To acknowledge animal suffering and to work to promote humane animal handling should be a universal goal.
René Gandolfi is a veterinarian in Castro Valley, California
RODEO: THE COWBOYS SPEAK
"No one on a working ranch would ever have any reason (or desire) to ride a bull, Brahma or otherwise. No one would ever be required to race a horse around three triangularly placed barrels, an activity that quickly ruins the horse for more productive activity. Bull riding and barrel racing are rodeo kabuki--their relation to anything that might happen on a ranch is confined to costume." (--Ibid., #15)
"Do I think it hurts the calf? Sure I do. I'm not stupid." (--Keith Martin, CEO, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. In the February 6, 2000 SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS)
"Yeah, I accidentally killed and injured lots of calves when I was learning. I mean, I plain roped their heads off till I really learned how to handle them and not hurt them." (--PRCA writer Gavin Ehringer, "The Mud, the Blood and the Poop: A Rodeo Insider Takes You Behind the Chutes of America's Cowboy Sport," Colorado Springs Independent, 8/19/2004)
"I keep 30 head of cattle around for practice, at $200 a head. You can cripple three or four in an afternoon." (--Dr. T.K. Hardy, a Texas veterinarian and sometime steer roper, quoted in NEWSWEEK, 10/2/72)
"Do animals feel fear? Nyaah, they don't feel fear. They're an ANIMAL!" (--Russ Fields, rancher and chair, Rowell Ranch Rodeo Committee, in a 5/19/18 KGO-TV Channel 7 news segment, San Francisco)
"As a lawyer, the 'wild cow milking contest' reminds me of rape cases I have tried in state court. Appalling!" (--Dr. Peggy Larson, Esq., veterinarian and former bronc rider, in a 2015 letter to the board of the Hayward Area Recreation & Park District (HARD), California.
"The single worst thing you can do to an animal emotionally is to make it feel afraid. Fear is so bad for animals I think it's worse than pain." (--Dr. Temple Grandin, world-renowned animal behaviorist, Colorado State University)
"Be aware that rodeo animals are "prey" animals. As such, they fear for their very lives when roped, ridden, wrestled, chased, jumped on, dragged or otherwise handled roughly." (--Eric Mills, coordinator, ACTION FOR ANIMALS, Oakland)
"Rodeo cannot be considered a true 'sport.' That term denotes willing, evenly-matched participants. Rodeo does not qualify. Rather, it is a macho exercise in DOMINATION." (Ibid.)
"For most of the animals, the rodeo arena is merely a detour en route to the slaughterhouse." (--Ibid.)
"If it gets to the point where people think rodeo is inhumane or cruel, they quit coming, and then we're out of business." (--Tom Hirsig, CEO, Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, in the July 27, 2018 WYOMING TRIBUNE EAGLE, "CFD, animal activists see two different rodeos")