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Why is animal lover Jann Arden promoting the Calgary Stampede?

Bucking horse at Calgary Stampede. Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur
Bucking horse at Calgary Stampede. Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Let Jann Arden know that rodeo is cruel – see actions below.

Singer Jann Arden, long known as an animal lover, has been named as a joint-parade marshall for the Calgary Stampede parade, the event that kicks off the ten-day rodeo, fair and chuckwagon races.

The announcement is a surprise, given Arden’s previously stated opposition to the chuckwagon races, shown in this tweet from 2013:

J Arden tweet against chuckwagon race

Presumably, she is aware of the 65 horses that have died in the Stampede’s chuckwagon races since 1986? That includes 11 dead horses since the Stampede’s much-publicised new “safety measures” were implemented in 2011.

Arden’s decision is also surprising and disappointing given her support for animal causes, including opposition to the Alberta government’s cull of wild horses. Perhaps she isn’t aware that the Calgary Stampede also culls unwanted horses, as revealed by media in 2012.  As CTV News reported at the time, “For the first time, the Calgary Stampede is admitting that horses that don’t make the cut to compete in the famous rodeo are sent to an Alberta slaughterhouse for meat.”

In 2014, Arden described her opposition to the Alberta horse cull and her feelings about horses, stating:  “They just need to be treated with respect. I know there needs to be some sensibility, but why does the fucking solution have to always be killing something?”  Yet killing is the Stampede’s solution to unwanted bucking horses. Isn’t there a double-standard here?

Perhaps Arden is not aware of Stampede’s horse culling policy but is she also unaware of what happens to other rodeo animals?

DSC_0021Does she know that steers died in the Stampede rodeo’s steer-wrestling event in 2014 and 2013?

Steer-wrestling involves riders jumping onto steers and twisting their necks until they fall to the ground.  Both steers had to be euthanized because of neck injuries.

Steer-wrestling has nothing to do with real ranch work. It was invented for rodeo in the 1930s.  It’s just entertainment.

Perhaps Arden is unaware of the suffering of other rodeo animals such as the three-month-old calves that are chased, roped, thrown to the ground and tied up. Or the steers that are roped by the horns and hind legs and stretched off their feet. Or the bulls and bucking horses that are tormented into bucking by the flank strap tightened around their hindquarters.  And all these animals suffer for the mere amusement of a crowd.

Ad calfDoes Arden care that virtually all animal welfare agencies around the world are opposed to rodeos – organizations like the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies and the national SPCAs of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK.

And does she care that most of her fellow Canadians are opposed to rodeo, with a recent poll showing that only three-in-ten Canadians are in favour of using animals in rodeos?

Let Jann Arden know that rodeo is cruel

If you think Jann Arden needs to rethink her support of the Calgary Stampede, please let her know.

Below are some actions you can take to send her a message.

You can tweet one of the messages below by clicking on it. (You will need to be logged in to Twitter.):

Tweet: .@jannarden Please don’t support the Calgary Stampede rodeo & chucks. The Stampede culls unwanted bucking horses. Rodeo animals suffer!

Tweet: .@jannarden Surprised you are supporting the Calgary Stampede, which is known for animal cruelty. Please reconsider!

Tweet: .@jannarden As an animal lover aren’t you concerned about the treatment of horses and rodeo animals at Stampede? 65 dead horses since 1986!

Or simply compose your own tweet to her at @jannarden

You can politely comment on Jann Arden’s Facebook page.

Every time you take a stand for the animals it makes a difference.



29 replies on “Why is animal lover Jann Arden promoting the Calgary Stampede?”

Show your fans that you don’t support animal cruelty by boycotting the Calgary Stampede.

I would love to visit Calgary if the festival would be without the cruelty to animals.
I am sad and disappointed in Jann!

I am so deeply saddened to hear that a self described animal lover would in any way be associated or support the Calgary Stampede, one of the most cruel animal circus events in the world. Does she actually not know how many animals die every year? Is this possible? The euthanized steers, the slaughtered horses that don’t buck enough. The calves having their little necks half torn off. The horses each year that die violent deaths in the chuck races. Jann Arden it is 2016 and the animals need your voice on their side. You are on the wrong side of history and I strongly urge you to reconsider your decision to be associated with this horrible event.

Sad how many “animal lovers” sell their souls for the almighty dollar. Shame on you Jan Arden!

I am shocked knowing Jann has been out west of see the beloved wild horses and was so against the culls. She also couldn’t believe the devastation that forestry left behind for the horses to tackle, especially in winter.. .Its shameful to be parading around and knowing this rodeo is one of the cruelest shows on earth If your an animal advocate you cannot be both that and a rodeo advocate…….Your choice Jann

Jan Arden – we hope this ah, “attention”, that you are getting reminds you of your roots as an animal lover. Please denounce your misstep and regain your beautiful voice for the animals!

Such a disappointment. Everyone that cares about animals should know about the horrendous cruelty to animals that takes place at the Stampede – overtly and behind the scenes. Come on Jane – what were you thinking!

I’ have been a “Jann Fan” forevet. That will hsve to stop. Please Jann reconsider – your voice & support could do so much good for these animals that are tortured & tormented in the name of entertainment!!!

I tweeted Ms. Arden as above and she immediately blocked me. On Twitter she is gloating about blocking horse advocates she claimed to respect two years ago when she worked to advocate for the wildies.

Jann…..please do not support the Calgary Stampede. Rodeos show such an extraordinary abuse of animals. Since 1986 sixty five horses have died in the CS’s chuck wagon races, 11 of them since 2011’s ‘safety measures’ were implemented.In 2012 the CS admitted that horses that didn’t make the Stampede ended up in slaughterhouses.
I have always admired your love and respect for animals Jann. Please rethink your position as joint-parade marshal at this year’s Stampede. Rodeos are cruel Jann. I cannot imagine that a single one of those animals in rodeos are happily enjoying the situation.
You are so beautifully skilled Jann at getting inside the heads of us humans and writing about how we feel and emote….your lyrics are insightful and strong. Now try and get inside the heads of these sentient animals that are involved in rodeos and seek to understand how they are likely feeling. I do not think that many love songs would come of that.
Please reconsider Jann. Please do not support the Calgary Stampede.
You will not be letting Albertans down.
You will be supporting the many Canadians, including Albertans, who view the Stampede as cruel abuse of animals for human entertainment.

Please Jann, don’t support the Calgary Stampede. For the love of money, Calgary kills horses, and if the horse does not make it they send them to slaughter.
I understand you’re a lover of animals, and I saw your comment on facebook saying you don’t like animal abuse.

Sharron Bradley British Columbia.

Please Jann take a stand against animal cruelty by declining to participate in the Calgary Stampede.

What a disgrace supporting animal cruelty, for sheer entertainment. In this day and age entertainment of this kind is barbaric.

Really sorry that an animal lover would support something like the stampede and even worse that a person so big in the public eye would do so therefore making it okay to torture animals for our amusement.

Supporting this is terrible it is a sick sick thing you should be ashamed of yourself as should any supporter of this cruel disgusting attack on our poor animals. shame on you all for supporting this money money money over rides cruelty it seems. urgh !!!!!1.

I’m really disappointed in you, Jann. I always thought you were pretty cool, but now I’m cooling off on you. I’m surprised at the number of people who still attend this event allowing the promoters to make money from careless cruelty.

Dear Ms Arden – I also ask you to rethink what it means to put your name to this event. A lot of ‘greenwash’ and ‘animal welfare wash’ goes on with events and practices like these and it’s really important that influential people call it when thy see it happening and are not afraid to say they’ve changed their mind when the evidence comes in. You had it right in 2013 – skip organised animal cruelty/fun!

Dear Ms. Arden,
Won’t you please reconsider your support of the Calgary Stampede? You are one of a growing group of humans with raised consciousness knowing that animals are sentient beings and feel terror, pain and suffering just as we do. They are not property but sentient beings deserving of rights. Because of your celebrity status you have the power to influence. Please use your influence to support kindness and compassion toward animals. Have you not seen the suffering of the calves being roped or the terrifying chaos of the horses violently crashing in the chuck wagon races and being injured and killed? The Calgary Stampede is a travesty and a horrific example of how animals are objectified as property and subjected to torture for so called entertainment. Please reconsider. Let your compassion and conscience guide you in being a voice for animal protection and not for animal cruelty. Thank you.

Dear Ms. Arden,
Please do not support the Calgary Stampede, and instead stick to your values as an animal lover.
My view is that so many things that go on around the Calgary Stampede are good; however, the rodeo is nothing more than Government Sanction cruelty. It’s wrong, you know it’s wrong because you have said so. Please back up what you say. I had a friend who was a photographer for the Stampede and other rodeos, he made it clear how tremendously cruel it is. And because of what he saw, she stopped being a rodeo photographer. Please put a stop to this inhumane treatment of innocent animals, by withdrawing from the parade.
Thank you for reading this.
Eileen Coughlan
One-time Calgary Humane Educator

Had to Google her name. Born In Calgary, so likely inured to the terror that animals endure at a stampede. It’s unkind to get pleasure from terrorizing animals. Stampede not quite as bad as
the terror that dogs are subjected to in that Chinese city which celebrates dog eating – after they
tenderize the dog meat while it’s alive by beating them and worse. Please try to see some joy
in stampede animals. Bet you won’t find any.

Really sad to hear that another Canadian “celebrity” is selling out to the Calgary stampede and it’s culture of blatant animal abuse. Does she really believe that any of these unwilling victims escape the slaughterhouse after being tortured for “tradition”? Those who are killed during events may be the lucky ones, since their suffering may not be so prolonged. If Arden is the animal lover she professes to be, she would understand why this event is unethical. Just another example of why Canada is generally recognized as falling farther behind on the animal and environmental protection front, while more enlightened places make progress. Because it’s 2016——ha-ha. Unless she’s secretly planning to pull a guerrilla protest once she’s in front of the crowds, she’s lost all credibility with true animal supporters. Now if she did that, we could all get behind her revealing a truly compassionate heart.

Please don’t promote this cruelty to animals. I think if you go ahead and do this at the Calgary stampede you will lose a lot of fines. Think about the poor animals and the cruelty and torture inflicted on them. Remember animals don’t have a voice but you do.

If only it were the Greatest Outdoor Music Show on Earth as marshaling the Calgary Stampede Parade while that city’s rodeo exists is no longer the honour is once was and the gentle, gifted Paul Brandt- father of two, is also accountable as a role model regarding animal welfare and respect for those at-risk conscripted farm beasts. So Grand Marshals must be paid substantially, ask alumni Mike Holmes, Rick Hansen, Chris Hadfield, William Shatner, Ian Tyson as the ethical among us refused the invitation.

But heartening to know there is intelligent life @ the Calgary Herald (published July 4, 2015)- courage in fact- this little light of mine or the pen is mightier than the electric cattle prod yet livestock suffer and perish in practice drills before these rodeo circuit events, unseen collateral damage for that prize silver buckle, rank and cash in a city whose mayor loves the tourism revenue bottom line.

‘Every summer, the issue of animals in the Stampede and other rodeos comes up. The horses that pull chuckwagons sometimes drop dead of heart attacks, are killed or injured, or have to be euthanized, due to collisions or other accidents.

Tie-down roping involves lassoing a calf and slamming it hard to the ground so that its legs can be tied together. Calves can suffer broken necks and other injuries in this so-called sport. Steers and bulls can also be injured or killed in their respective events.

What any of this violence to animals has to do with western heritage is unclear. In the days of the Wild West, so fondly romanticized by all rodeos, ranchers didn’t treat their animals in such a way so as to contribute to their injuries and deaths. These animals were their livelihood and the ranchers had a huge financial stake in raising healthy calves so they could ship them to market. It was business, and every injured or dead calf was money lost. A rancher back then would have been a fool if he consistently roped calves in such a way that they died or were maimed. The same goes for farms and ranches today.

Nor is there any historical record of such a thing as a chuckwagon race until Stampede showman Guy Weadick invented it in 1923, because rodeo revenues were slumping. The only heritage chuckwagon races are part of is the heritage of profit-making.

To its credit, the Calgary Stampede has responded to concerns about its animals. Its website contains an exhaustive section on animal care. The Stampede follows “the regulations set out in Alberta’s Animal Protection Act. These regulations are monitored by the Calgary Humane Society and Alberta SPCA year-round.”

The Stampede has an animal care advisory panel and follows “codes of best practices,” as recommended by “industry experts” and the panel. The Stampede also has its own “animal care code of practice,” which means that during the 10-day event, “a team of veterinarians is on the Park full time to ensure proper care for the animals.”

That’s all well and good, but the bottom line is these animals are still being used for sheer entertainment in events that can cause them traumatic injuries and death — and it is unnecessary for them to be subjected to this. Are we humans so hard up for entertainment that we must amuse ourselves by watching events that can cause animals to suffer and die?

The Stampede has an interesting FAQ page with answers to questions people have sent them about the animals. A consistent theme that runs through their answers is that their values align with the community’s values and expectations, although they respect the fact that some people don’t share those values. Another theme is that the animals are well cared for and everything possible is done to prevent them from being injured and killed.

In answer to a woman who wanted to know what the Stampede’s threshold for banning the chuckwagon races and other potentially deadly events is, the Stampede responded: ” … The Calgary Stampede believes our community expects us to do everything we reasonably can to anticipate and eliminate any risk to the animals and people we host on our site. We earn that trust and confidence through our zero tolerance policy for preventable injuries … we do everything within our power to anticipate and prevent incidents … we have introduced the most stringent rules and regulations of rodeo, and have instituted the most comprehensive animal medical program on the continent. We hire independent contractors to audit our actions each year, and review their recommendations as well as all incidents to determine if we can be doing more.”

A question about the suffering a calf experiences during tie-down roping is neatly dodged, however, with this answer: “We often hear the very important question about whether the roping calf is in fear or pain while being roped and restrained at the Calgary Stampede. We asked this question of an independent livestock handling specialist who audits and monitors this very thing all over the world and who has trained under Dr. Temple Grandin. Important discussions like this are worthy of more than a short sound-bite. We appreciate the time you take to explore this important question.”

Important discussions like this are worthy of a direct answer. Clearly, calves suffer. If they didn’t, the Stampede would not have avoided answering this person’s question.

One of the Stampede’s more revealing answers is to a question from Bea in Winter Haven, Fla., about how a civilized society can justify these rodeo events. Judging from the answer, it seems that humans have decided these animals’ lives must serve some purpose: ” … livestock animals are expensive to feed, house and provide veterinarian care for. Most livestock horses and cows must have a purpose or a job to offset the cost of their upkeep or they simply would not be bred and born.”

So these animals are expected to earn their keep by risking injury and death to entertain humans. Their job is to amuse us to death (theirs, not ours). Missing from this philosophically vacuous argument is the recognition that animals’ lives have value in and of themselves, completely apart from any arbitrary entertainment or financial purpose humans assign them.

Horses and cattle are sentient beings whose lives possess innate dignity as members of another species with whom we share this planet. This dignity does not depend on some human’s declaration that bovines and equines must have jobs to help pay for their own keep. How very sad to measure their worth in terms of how useful they can be for our own entertainment purposes.

Yet, if you believe that these animals have an intrinsic worth in their own right that demands our respect, you often get slapped with the label of extremist. All that does is polarize the issue. I can’t see that it is extremism to advocate for animals not to be hurt or killed for the purpose of human entertainment.

We no longer think of cockfighting and dogfighting as legitimate entertainment, and we’ve enacted laws prohibiting those activities. We have evolved. It’s time we evolve to hold in equal disrepute those events that cause suffering, injury and death to rodeo animals.’

Naomi Lakritz is a Herald columnist.

So sorry to see Jan Arden is a supporter of this abusive show.
I guess 65 dead horses and countless other abused calves etc don’t matter! Disappointed


I’m a big fan and have been for some time. I follow you on Facebook and have seen you perform live.I am disappointed to see you supporting the Calgary Stampede and wish you would use your social status to speak out against this event. There is a real opportunity here.

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