How Are Rodeos Cruel to Animals?
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How Are Rodeos Cruel to Animals?

Are rodeos cruel to animals? Are horses hurt in rodeos? Are cattle hurt at the rodeo? Are rodeos cruel to calves? What are some of the rodeo events that are cruel to animals? How are animals hurt at rodeos? Are chuckwagon races cruel? Why do some people criticize rodeos as being cruel?

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.

Chuckwagon Races

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.

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Comments (8)

Great information!

I am an old barrel racer and I agree some of the animals are scared to death. Even in barrel racing some of the horses are not treated good.

Thanks for exposing this and raising awareness to those who might not know. Voted.

Is the writer of an article on here not required to provide reference of the facts stated? What is scary is that people can post anything online today be it true or false and it will reach millions of people around the world and they will believe it. I trust that Factzoid exists with the intent to provide facts so let me break down this article and provide some insight so future readers are not misinformed. To the author, have any animals told you that they don’t want to be there and the cattle in particular? That comment is not a fact it is an opinion. Noting that rodeos are cruel is not stating a fact it is stating an opinion. The rodeo events stated above were not invented as stated above. They were not built back in the shop and brought out one day out of the blue. - Bull Riding goes back to the 16th century with direct roots to Mexico - Steer Wrestling was not invented in the 1930's it originated in the 1930's - Chuckwagon races existed long before 1923. The fact is it was 1923 that Chuckwagon racing was first introduced to the Calgary Stampede by founder Guy Weadick - In some areas health regulations mandate vaccinations and blood testing of horses, so professional rodeo horses receive routine care. Sick or injured animals are given appropriate veterinary care so they can be returned to their usual level of strength and power. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association regulations require veterinarians to be available at all rodeos to treat both bucking stock and other animals as needed. The same is required at Chuckwagon races. Where are the facts that state animals are killed or injured on the farm or at home while cowboys are training? Protesting is an act of Terrorism; it has no positive value in society. It comes with the intent to cause harm to something or someone to express ones beliefs and get what they want as is the case with the above example of how to protest. People who want to participate in the act of protesting regardless of the topic should grow up and make a positive difference in society. The comment "Nobody would allow cats or dogs to be treated in the manner in which rodeo animals are treated" is not fact base either. Do some research on how well rodeo animals and Chuckwagon racing horses are cared for behind the barns and with their owners. They receive regular veterinary care and follow a specific feeding program unlike alot of cats and dogs. How many rodeo animals do you see dead on the road because of their owners neglect and irresponsibility by allowing them to run free in unsafe territory. Do some research on how many animals and in particular cats and dogs PETA and the SPCA's euthanize each year. Now that’s animal cruelty do a story on. Unfortunately like the old barrel racer said even in barrel racing some horses are not treated well. The case can be said about alot of owners and with their animals regardless of the breed and parents with their kids for that matter.Someone or something somewhere is not always receivng the care they deserve. But the cases of positive care outweigh the negative care as the old barrel racer should know. The old barrel racer should also know the main reason horses exist in the first place. This topic of animal abuse in rodeo is getting redundant but it’s that time of year again so those with an opinion will start voicing the same thing we have heard for years. Why doesn't somebody go find a cure for cancer

After further investigating Factzoid it appears writers are compensated for their stories. In this writers case based on the number of articles she has written it is about volume and financial gain not providing the general public with fact based information.

To Joan. I live in the heart of rodeo country. I absolutely know that many horses receive excellent care - many chuckwagon horses were actually former race horses so this does extend their life as many would otherwise be slaughtered. For sure they are treated well, as are the horses used in roping events and cutting events, they are prized, I certainly never said they were not. Here is a source link. Also how this relates to finding a cure for cancer - I have no idea what you are talking about? Nor did I say that people should let their dogs run out on the street - in fact I have written many articles on how to keep pets safe. PETA is not an animal welfare agency - they are animal rights (meaning they have no mandate to save pets) - and the Humane Society of the USA reports 4 million euthanasias per year, however how that justifies cruelty in rodeo as you seem to suggest is very obscure?

Thanks Brenda. I appreciate your validation on the care of horses and animals in rodeo events because that is never mentioned in articles like yours. The care of the animals is far greater than any cruelty or injury that they receive.

Thanks Joan. I did actually write another article on "What happens to ex-Racehorses" where I did note that the Chuckwagon Industry (which is super active where I live) rescues many. I for sure want to note that nobody in the rodeo industry WANTS to see a horse, calf, or steer, killed.