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The Ethics of Rodeos

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Jayme Knowles

on 18 March 2014

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Transcript of The Ethics of Rodeos

Development of Rodeos
Stats on Animal Injuries and Deaths
Highly controversial chuck wagon race most deadly
Calf roping
Our Opinions
Negatives of Rodeo
Animal deaths (is it worth it?)
Inciting fear in animals for entertainment
The Ethics of Rodeos
Animal Welfare Groups
Humane societies and animal activists speak out against the cruelty against animals committed at rodeos.
Are there ethical issues with using animals for entertainment?
Could better regulation improve rodeos?
Are there other forms of entertainment that involve causing stress or anxiety to animals?
After seeing this presentation would you go to a rodeo?

- First began in the early 20th century
- Today consists of various competitive
Roping events: based historically off the working cowboy
Calf Roping
Breakaway roping
Team Roping
But also:
Bucking Bronco
Bull Riding
Three horses die in chuck wagon race
2012 Calgary Stampede
Steer's leg injured in calf roping
Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo (Wyoming)
Calgary Humane Society:

"...opposes the use of animals for any form of entertainment in which they are placed at risk of suffering undue stress, pain, injury or death..."
Humane Society of the United States:
"...opposes rodeos as they are commonly organized, since they typically cause torment and stress to animals..."
Vancouver Humane Society:

"...opposed to rodeo because most events involve the use of fear, stress, or pain to make the animals perform...."

"...opposed to all rodeo events that involve cruel, painful, stressful, and potentially harmful treatment of livestock."
- Historically based on the tasks of the working cowboy
- Development was incremental
Started as local fairs, with primary competitors being of aboriginal descent.

Based on the ranch work to which calves were captured for branding purposes
Calf roping
For women of all ages
For boys under 12
Breakaway Roping
The only event where men and women can both work together
The first roper is referred to as the "header"
The person who ropes the front of the steer, usually around the horns,
sometimes roping the horn can result in the horn breaking
The pain experienced can be equivalent to ripping off a fingernail in humans
It is also legal to go around the neck
The second roper is called the "heeler"
Ropes the steer by its hind feet
Team Roping
A rodeo event to which the horse and rider attempt to complete a clover leaf pattern
Winner has the fastest time
Barrel Racing

Humane Practices

Positives of Rodeo
Stock Holders
Calgary Income and Culture
Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association

Employment, Culture and Regulations
Rodeos in Canada
First event held in 1901 at Raymond, Alberta, Canada
In 1912 Guy Weadick, H.C McMullen concieve the idea of organizing a celebration of enourmous proportion
Creates the Calgary Stampede
Event was to a celebration in honoring the land, cowboys, small time ranchers and aboriginal peoples who first occupied the plains
Rodeos, like the Calgary Stampede in particular, has 1200 full time staff which include the stock contractors, volunteers and coordinators. For the actual event in July the total employment is 3500 members.
Culture of Calgary
Multicultural city and not many cowgirls/cowboys are being recognized

Through the Stampede, the cowboys and cowgirls in Calgary have the potential to be recognized, and to bring Calgary’s heritage to the attention of its people.

The rodeo keeps the heritage of Calgary alive while it is surrounded by towering skyscrapers.

Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association
The Bucking Bronco
A competitive event to which to rider attempts to stay on the feral horse for as long as possible
Various events can be either Bareback or Saddle bronc riding
PRCA is bound by non-profit bylaws and rules that deal exclusively with the human treatment of animals.
Overall, there are five dozen PRCA rules protecting the humane rights of animals within the rodeo.
Enforcing these rules are many veterinarians, who officiate and judge all aspects of the rodeo.

flank strap too tight, $250 fine
unnecessary roughness in cattle roping, $250 on the spot
animals that are too excited in the chute, tries to lay down ect, can cause harm and must be released immediately
mistreatment and or abuse, if seen garnishes a $250 fine or disqualification
The three main controversial pieces of equipment used within rodeos include:
Flank Strap

Many veterinarians agree that the equipment used is very safe, “a bucking animal is not made but born”.
The prod, an electric device, powered by flashlight batteries, is used to move animals on the ranch and occasionally to move them into the chutes.

It is much more humane than beating them repeatedly with a rope.

Lastly, it’s important to note that a bull and horses skin is 7-8mm thick while our skin is only 1-2mm thick, allowing for more resistance to bruising or burning.

Who Are The Stock Contractors?
Stock Contractor, Harry Vold states, “this is my living, my investment, and it is important to take care of these animals, in fact we probably take care of them better than people not in the rodeo”.

"there are a lot of other things I could be doing to make money but I enjoy being around these animals and that’s what keeps me in the business”.

Words of Wisdom
The flank strap is a safe method to encourage the animal to buck.

Contrary to some beliefs by the media, the flank strap does not go on their genitals.

Bucking is a normal reaction for either a horse or a bull to get rid of a foreign object, the strap is placed behind the ribs and in front of the genitals, therefore, no harm is caused to the internal organs
Only blunt spurs are allowed within the PRCA guidelines of rodeo. These spurs must be loose allowing the rowels to move so they will roll over the horse’s hide in order to prevent injury.

PRCA prohibits the use of sharpened spurs or locked rowels (the star shaped ones). The spurs can not be more than 1/8 of an inch thick. When compared to the hide of a bronc, which is 7-8mm thick, the spurs only gives the rider a little extra support.

Animal Injuries

To add to the low injury rate, the animals that are used within the rodeo never perform for more than a minute, specifically 8 seconds if possible for bull riding. All bucking events have time limits of a minute or less.

Other Animal Deaths
17 horses have died in non-chuckwagon events
Since 1986 there has been only 4 years with no fatalities at the Calgary Stampede
2005 Stampede incident
"Old West" Culture
Rodeo has turned into pure entertainment
Economic boost for participating cities
Overall Summary on Animal Welfare
• If you think about all the different disciplines in which horses are used showing, racing, jumping, pleasure riding, etc. some kind of equipment is worn by the horse and something is used to communicate instruction to the animal
• The first rules for the humane care and treatment of rodeo animals were established by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in 1947, seven years prior to the founding of the Humane Society of the United States.
• Bull riding serves the bull population. More female cattle than male cattle are required in both dairy operations and the building of beef herds. More male cattle are born than are needed for breeding purposes. Rodeo adds years to the lives of some of these excess bulls.
- Had to capture calves and adult cattle for:
Branding purposes
Veterinary visits
A rodeo event where a single mounted rider ropes a calf
Horses are then signaled to stop
Fastest time wins
- Similar to the bucking bronco
- Riders will attempt to stay on the bull for as long as they can
Full transcript