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100 years of cruelty is nothing to celebrate

In a few weeks time, on July 6, animals will once again be suffering at the hands of the Calgary Stampede.  And once again, we will be calling on all civilized, compassionate Canadians to oppose this spectacle of animal abuse.

Some people wonder why the Vancouver Humane Society, a small animal charity on the West Coast, picks on the Calgary Stampede, a so-called national icon and self-described “greatest outdoor show on earth.”

The simple answer is this:  The Stampede subjects animals to fear, pain and stress for the sake of entertainment and that’s immoral.

To be clear, VHS only objects to the Stampede rodeo.  We have no issue with the other activities that make up the bulk of the Stampede.  If people want to dress up as cowboys and party, that’s fine with us. We just want to stop animals from suffering.

The Stampede will say that rodeo animals don’t suffer.  Can they really believe that a three-month-old calf doesn’t feel fear when it is goaded out of a chute and chased into the arena? Can they really believe that the calf doesn’t feel pain when, at 27 miles per hour, it is roped to a jarring halt, then picked up and thrown to the ground?  Imagine this being done to your dog.

Some people who defend rodeo say, well, the pain is only inflicted for a short time, so what’s the big deal.  Okay, imagine that a reality television program featured kittens or puppies receiving a mild electric shock for just a few seconds.  No one would stand for it.  There would be a public outcry.  Why? Because the idea of subjecting animals to abuse for the sake of entertainment would be considered barbaric, unconscionable and unacceptable. Yet we accept it in rodeo, where crowds of people actually applaud as they watch animals experience pain.

Oh, but rodeo is different.  It’s about tradition and agricultural heritage and what happens on the ranch.  Really?  The truth is that real working cowboys never rode bulls, wrestled steers or raced chuckwagons.  And the calf-roping event is a cruel travesty of the range practice.  “That’s not the way it’s done on the ranch. On the ranch it’s done quietly and calmly, not like at the rodeo,” says renowned animal behaviourist, Temple Grandin.

Even if rodeo events were a genuine part of Canadian heritage, would that justify cruelty to animals?  In London, one of the last bear-baiting pits, situated a few paces from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, was closed down in 1642.  While the Globe has been rebuilt, nothing remains of the bear pit.  There are some parts of our heritage we should retain and be proud of and there are others we should consign to the dustbin of history.  That’s where traditions of animal cruelty belong.

The Stampede is marking its 100th anniversary.  A century of unnecessary animal suffering.  If you believe in a future without such suffering, please speak out against rodeo.  If you believe in a civilized compassionate Canada, please join our campaign.  We’re going to take a stand against animal cruelty at the Calgary Stampede.  Please stand with us.

Watch this space.

More info on the Calgary Stampede rodeo.







22 replies on “100 years of cruelty is nothing to celebrate”

I hope one day that the rodeo will wake up and see that many of their so called sporting events that take place are considered animal abuse. Calf roping is among the worse!! I dont understand how they continue to abuse animals like this—and usually a few deaths of animals occur also at the Calgary Stampede. Hoping an end is put to it very soon!

The Calgary Stampede works very hard to keep their animals safe. I mean, they’re part of a show – you want to treat your performers well so they continue to perform. I admit that calf roping is very rough, but all of the other ones are not that bad. The spurs do not hurt the animal, because they are not sharp enough to inflict any cuts, they merely tickle the animal, along with the sheep hair that is put underneath the animal. The Calgary SPCA and the Humane Society are on park at all times and are always supervising the goings-on at the rodeo and chuckwagon races. So, if you are accusing the Stampede of animal cruelty, you are also accusing the Calgary animal societies on their ability to judge animal cruelty. Plus, Calgary has refined the rules of their rodeo many times to make it animal-friendly – if you compare it to many other rodeos around the world, Calgary’s is one of the most humane.

The Calgary Humane Society says it “fundamentally opposes high risk rodeo events like chuckwagon racing, calf-roping, and steer wrestling.” Unfortunately, the CHS chooses not to campaign on this issue, so not everyone is aware of its position. In fact, virtually all animal welfare organizations in Canada oppose rodeo, including the Humane Society of Canada and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. The national SPCAs of the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand also oppose rodeo because it is inhumane. Are they all wrong? Your comment evades the central issue: Is it cruel to subject animals to fear, pain and stress or not? You say calf-roping is “rough”. Don’t you mean cruel? Great people like Gandhi, Einstein and the Dalai Lama have argued that kindness to animals is among the highest of human values. It is something all civilized societies should aspire to. Does rodeo represent kindness to animals? No, it is the antithesis of kindness. It is appeals to our worst instincts and lowest desires. It is indefensible.

Although I agree with the official position of the Calgary Humane Society, I always feel as though they are collaborating with the enemy. The so-called changes that the CHS is always trumpeting have not worked, and animals continue to die horrific painful deaths at the Stampede. The Stampede is using the Humane society’s involvement as a way of excusing themselves from bad publicity. If I worked at the Calgary Humane Society, I don’t think I could bring myself to look in the mirror.

VHS, you are brainwashing people to beleive that us Calgarians do not treat our stock animals fairly. We are rodeo central. We have been born, raised, and breath rodeo. It is the lagest ourdoor show on earth. You do well in protecting animals, but you are insultlting when you insult the stampede as you insult my (and others) way of life. You need to complete your research carefully and have truthful media. I have will forever continue to support and donate to the calgary stampede and other rodeos around the world

Three animals have died painful, lingering deaths in the name of “entertainment” at the Stampede. That’s my research. Care to dispute that?

i agree mostly, but they need to stop unnecessary venues where animals do get injured and even hurt so bad they have to be euthanized….just saying they could do more as animals cannot speak for themselves so those who do have a voice will speak up.

Since when did horses and cows become dogs and cats. I recall walking into a clients office downtown Calgary where in the waiting room was a historical photo album of the Stampede dating back to the late 1800’s. This is a sport and entertainment event that has along history behind it. Why dont we classify human contact sports as human brutality. I would only assume this artical wa written by a vegetarian. If not, why would you care of calf roping if you are having veal on dinner plate anytime in the near future.

Personally, I support animal activism, however these are not house pets.

So it’s okay to inflict pain on some animals for entertainment but not others? Do you think horses and calves don’t feel pain or distress? Just because some animals are destined to die in a slaughterhouse doesn’t make it acceptable to abuse them beforehand. Even meat eaters and vegetarians can agree that tormenting an animal for the sake of human amusement can’t be morally justified. As for human contact sports, there’s a big difference: humans take part voluntarily, animals have no choice in the matter.

let me say this slowly to you VHS: they are cows and horses. Work animals. Not house pets. Get over it because you will never succeed in eliminating Calgary Stampede or other rodeos.

This so called ‘entertainment’ (only for some humans) is no different than bullfight and seal butchering. As long as we inflict pain and distress on any animal, we become part of that human species that cares not for others and enjoy watching someone suffer. People who think rodeo is just ‘rough’ should be given a taste of that ‘sport’.

Placing animals at risk of being injured or killed for “entertainment” is cruel, inhumane and unethical. Animals die almost every year at the Stampede, and I fear this year will be no exception. The Stampede is using its centennial propaganda to distract everyone from its rodeo critics. Even the media is drinking the Stampede’s Kool-Aid. We need to call for a boycott of all rodeo and chuckwagon sponsors. We also need to keep informing travel agencies in other countries about what goes on at the Stampede so they can warn visitors BEFORE they plan their trips. Let’s not give this year to the Stampede and their apologists.

“if you are accusing the Stampede of animal cruelty, you are also accusing the Calgary animal societies on their ability to judge animal cruelty.”
Why, yes, yes, we are.
If you visit the CS you-tube channel, they describe how to move stock. QUOTE “To Move stock safely, you have to move them slowly”. So I guess moving them quickly and unsafely is humane? Huh?!
Jerk-downs of the calves are the norm. Horse fighting the chute are the norm. It’s cruel. End the abusive events, and maybe we’ll start believing that CS really does care about their animal “athletes”. Another video describes the breeding of the calves, to be “flightier”. More stressed, in other words. Grow up, Alberta.

The stampede is an outdated animal abuse Canadian disgrace! I don’t understand how people can make remarks like the stampede works very hard to keep their animals safe when in the last 2 years I believe at least 3 horses have been killed, and how many more animals are injured and suffer unnecessarily for human entertainment ( if you can call it that) . We should be no prouder of this than our annual seal hunt! We all need to remember the animals didn’t ask to be put in pens and abused….that’s on us! And it’s shameful.

Well there we have it, what are we a week in and 3 horses dead and one injured today? Sure your animal safety regulations are improved! Disgusting! While our Prime Minister sits there with a cowboy hat on… many more? How many more will lose their lives and be tortured for the almighty dollar (let’s face it that’s all it’s about) . It makes me sick to my stomach! Please, Prime Minister take off that stupid hat and take a look at the stampede for what it is…shut it down!

I have always known that there is cruelty, especially to the calves, as there is no reason for this to be a venue to entertain not just adults, children also. I have never paid to watch any of these venues and only support ethical venues where the animals are treated with respect and valued . Boycott these venues so it sends a message that it will not be tolerated or supported.

If the animal cruelty can’t be stopped this year I really really want to see this BOYCOTTED!!!!!! PEOPLE LETS DO THIS!!! There is no reasoning with the ignorant, unethical, greedy and soul-less ppl who advocate this kind of appalling cruelty and who can actually justify it!!

Boycott it? With 1.8 million predicted to come through the gates this year, I can’t see that happening. On the other hand I hope you enjoy your veal tonight, and remember, when they kill that lamb, or that cow for the steak you will BBQ this weekend, they do it a lot more INhumanely than any animal could ever die at the CS

“The Calgary Stampede, a cruel spectacle of animal abuse. Fear, pain and stress used to coerce animals into performing for the entertainment of human beings – a barbaric concept. Yet here in Canada, in the 21st century, it is offered as a tourist attraction and as a symbol of our culture.
Its violence folks, abuse.Have your parade dress up like cowboys if you like but roping and wagon racing is nothing more than abuse

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