Calgary Stampede

Animals in rodeos are subjected to fear, stress, and pain.

It’s time to ban cruel rodeo events at the Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede, like all rodeos, is a cruel spectacle of animal abuse. Fear, pain and stress are used to coerce animals into performing for the entertainment of human beings – a barbaric concept. Yet here in Canada, in the 21st century, we offer this as a tourist attraction and as a symbol of our culture.

We’re asking compassionate Canadians to urge the Stampede to drop these events. It’s time for the Stampede to listen to Canadians who oppose abusing animals for entertainment. Below are some of the inhumane rodeo events that should be eliminated from the Stampede’s program.

The cruelty of fear

All cattle are “prey” animals and research has shown they are particularly sensitive to fear. Dr. Temple Grandin, the distinguished animal behaviourist, has written that fear is “so bad” for animals it can be worse than pain. There can be little doubt that a three-month-old calf, goaded and chased into an arena with a shouting crowd is suffering even before the rope pulls him off his feet. How can tormenting an animal in this way be acceptable as entertainment? Treating a dog this way would result in cruelty charges. Sadly, farm animals in Canada have no such legal protection – apparently even when they are used for mere entertainment.

The myth of rodeo’s old west heritage

Rodeo promoters will say that calf-roping and other rodeo events are part of the culture of the old west. But when real cowboys roped calves on the range there was no pressure from a stopwatch or big prize money. It was done as gently as possible to ensure the animal was not injured. The myth of rodeo’s old west “heritage” has been used with other events. Real cowboys did not ride bulls (Why would they?) or wrestle steers (invented for rodeo in the 1930s) or have chuckwagon races (invented for rodeo in 1923). Rodeo has almost nothing to do with the culture of the old west. It is merely sensational entertainment – and it causes animals to suffer for the most trivial of purposes.

How you can help

Help us to end the animal abuse at the Calgary Stampede by sending a polite and effective message to one of contacts listed below.

Contact the Stampede to tell them you want an end to calf-roping:

Warren Connell
Chief Executive Officer
Calgary Stampede
Box 1060
Station M
Calgary, Alberta
T2P 2K8
Tel: 403 261 0101 (local)  or: 1 800 661 1260 (North America toll free)
Fax: 403 265 7197

Email Stampede:

Comment via the Stampede website

You can also urge CBC Sports to stop television coverage of the Stampede rodeo and chuckwagon races.  Write to:

Chris Wilson
Director of CBC Sports
P.O. Box 500, Station A
Toronto, Ontario
M5W 1E6

Write letters to the editor or comment online:

When you see media coverage of the Calgary Stampede or other rodeos, send a letter to the editor, use online comment features, call feedback lines or call radio talk shows. Add your voice to the fight to end rodeo cruelty!

Thanks to Jo-Anne McArthur at the “We Animals” project for use of photos:

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