It is what animal activist groups want and crave, whether they are in the right or wrong. Bringing attention to themselves in one way or another is in their view a victory and helps spread their ideals, even legitimate concerns.
However, they get so bogged down in false campaigns that at some point it is hard to take some of them seriously.
There is one event every year that seems to bring out the angry mob — the Calgary Stampede — and once again they got their big flashy headlines when four horses died over a short period of time.
First of all no one takes joy in watching animals die or suffer, and if they do they should be checked out for other issues.
But we have to look at where the major complaints are coming from — the Vancouver Humane Society and the United Kingdom.
If anyone could tell me what these two groups know about the world of rodeos and chuckwagons I would love to hear it.
What they see on TV are people deriving amusement from animals, so it must be cruel.
It is an incredibly shortsighted and uneducated point of view to take.
First of all almost all rodeos work hand in hand with local humane societies — the Calgary Stampede for example is under the direct supervision of both the Calgary SPCA and the Calgary Humane Society, following strict guidelines put forth by Alberta’s Animal Protection Act.
There is also a team of veterinarians on hand ensure all animals are in fact healthy and to treat them if they do happen to get injured during an event.
As far as the stock contractors and the cowboys and cowgirls go, the animals are much more than just an animal.
For the barrel racers, the steer wrestlers and the tie down ropers, their horses are with them for years and for the most part are taken great care of. Why? In many ways it is a partnership and they grow close to their horse, but also they realize that the horse is their meal ticket and by far the better athlete. If they don’t take care of the horse, the horse won’t take care of them and the big dollars they chase just won’t be caught.
It is much the same for the stock contractors where the animals in most cases live a better life than the cowboys trying to ride or corral them.
It is the other half of the rodeo equation that often gets overlooked by the fans and on lookers. The contractors build their reputation off of the stock — and flat out the contractor is only in demand if he has a reputation that is beyond reproach. If he is bringing haggard or injured animals to events it hurts the rodeo and he’s not going to be asked back. It is a close knit fraternity and word of a neglectful stock contractor spreads like wild fire.
In many cases an animal’s life is actually extended due to chuckwagons and the rodeo.
When a thoroughbred no longer can do it on its own on the race track, often they are a quick trip away from the glue factory, but many also get picked up by chuckwagon drivers and they find a second life in a team of horses.
Accidents do happen — but they certainly aren’t intentional and steps are taken all the time to see them limited.
Promoters know people aren’t coming there to watch horses or calves die — in fact there are major financial penalties levied on cowboys who do abuse stock — people come for a taste of tradition, a taste of the old west and a full serving of excitement.
There is nothing intentional about the loss of an animal’s life at a rodeo — it affects everyone negatively.
If animal rights activists are looking for a fight why not latch on to how about the gassing of Canadian geese south of the border because they have become a nuisance — a direct state sanctioned action?
That they would have my support on.
Continued berating of the Calgary Stampede is misguided.