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Calgary Stampede sends young horses to slaughter

Bucking horses are a major part of rodeo ‘entertainment’

An article in an Alberta magazine has revealed that the Calgary Stampede sends young, healthy horses to slaughter if they can’t make the grade as bucking horses for the Stampede rodeo. (CTV News is running a report on the revelations.)

The current issue of Alberta Views carries a story by journalist Curtis Gillespie about animal care at the Stampede.  In it, Gillespie asks staff at the Calgary Stampede ranch (which breeds and raises bucking horses for the rodeo) about the fate of bucking horses not good enough to perform at the Stampede. Here is a passage from the article:

I asked what happens to those horses that simply aren’t suited to bucking, that aren’t naturals? “We usually just keep ’em around,” Marrington said. “A lot of mares go into the breeding program, even if they can’t buck, because we know they’re genetically good. We do cull, no question about that. But the fact is, you can get some young horses, for whatever reason, that fight the chute, or are just bad, and they could hurt cowboys with no ability, and they’ll just run over you. And they’re disposed of, and that’s all I’m going to tell you. They’re out of the system, out of the inventory. It’s inventory in, inventory out.”

The next day, I asked ranch manager Raymond Goodman how many times, on average, a young horse is dummied before a decision is made to remove it from the bucking program.

“Usually three or four times,” he said.

“And if they’re mares, they go back into the breeding program?”

He nodded.

“And what about geldings and studs?” I asked. “They’re culled?”


“And they go where? Fort MacLeod?”

“Yup, Fort MacLeod.”

Fort McLeod is the site of a slaughterhouse run by Bouvry Exports Ltd., where many horses are sent for slaughter.  The plant was the subject of  an investigation by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition in 2010, which found evidence that horses were being killed inhumanely.  The CHDC revealed video footage showing horses at the slaughterhouse being shot and then hoisted away by their legs while still fully conscious.

Please let the Stampede’s chief executive, Vern Kimball, know what you think about this.

25 replies on “Calgary Stampede sends young horses to slaughter”

There should “NOT” be slaughter of horses for whatever reason. The horse slaughter industry is keep alive by irresponsible breeders, businesses, PMU industry, and the entertainment industry (rodeo and racehorse) and of course the private irresponsible person that sends their horse to an auction. Horse slaughter is a disposal system and does not belong in Canada. Canada should have more respect for the horse that has contributed so much to the country and the citizens. The rodeo exploits this majestic creature with no cares for its wellbeing – the show must go on. For an animal that has “allowed” us to partner with it – we should do better by it. Horse slaughter is Canada’s shame. Horse lovers need to DEMAND an end to this disgusting cruel profit driven business that caters to the European and Asian market. What are you doing Canada?

I totally agree with you and wish all this insane business stops at once. What a shame that our Canada allows the slaughter of horses and the continuous , horrible tragic Rodeo!. there is nothing good about it!

The cruelty of the Calgary Stampede is a source of shame for all Canadians. It’s a disgusting display of the worst depravity of mankind. It is no better than the old Roman Emperors who pacified the masses with great shows of cruelty.

This treatment of animals deemed “not good for bucking” is disgusting, archaic, and inhumane. I cannot believe that the people of Calgary (and the audience at the Stampede ) are aware of this and say nothing.
Do they not care that these horses are beaten (in order to break their backs) and shot
while still conscious. Is this not cruelty?

Well, well…..don’t ya call that irresponsible ‘breeding’. You know, as long as there is a ‘garbage disposal’ “HORSE SLAUGHTER”…. ALL BREEDERS OF will continue to breed totally unchecked….because they can get away with it. Breed as many mares as they possibly can. ALL for entertainment….$$$ greed.
Take away the ‘slaughter option’ & those numbers will come down. They will have to keep what THEY produced or have the horse put down ‘humanely’.
Do NOT think for one minute horse slaughter is humane euthanasia…..there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HUMANE ABOUT SLAUGHTER. If you don’t know what is going on I suggest you get educated. It’s a dirty – preditory business.

…so you’re suggesting the solution is to continue letting them kill perfectly healthy horses for the benefit of the rodeo as long as they do it “humanely”?

I heard last year that they were sending the chuck wagon horses to slaughter too. So what do you say about that Dr. Evans, you so called vet, protector of animals? The Calgary Stampede has supported the abuse of horses for a long time. Not only their cruel events but after the lights are turned off and the last gate is closed those animals who have drawn the crowds and helped make the money are sent off to a cruel and inhumane end. What joy is there in knowing that those animals that have given their all will thrown onto the garbage pile at the end of the day? Shame on anyone who supports the Calgary Stampede and their animal cruelty.

Just because of this ia will NEVER support the Calgary Stampede ever again. There are so many other options for those horses. Truly disheartening! Im ashamed of all of those people and disgusted with how they run the show behind the scenes.

The breeding of bucking horses for sheer entertainment purposes is such an archaic practice. The whole existence of these animals is generated out of a need for inhumane entertainment. They are all basically just bred for slaughter, with a short stop at the Stampede before heading directly to Bouvry.

We do not need animals entertainment in these days and age. Please stop such inhumane business.

Poor horses,aren’t the electric prods and tight cinch belts enough to get them bucking?apparently not,I wasn’t aware they are specially bred for this cruel sport?and don’t forget the calves -only babies ,they chase -rope and jump on ,breaking their bones ,they too are discarded like rubbish,we humans?are losing our -humanity,we are not learning -our lessons,there is more cruelty in the world today than ever before,factory farming -fast food outlets etc.and those who do have something to hide -introducing the AG-GAGlaws preventing animal activists from disclosing their hideous cruelty ,if there is any justice in this world I hope these filthy animal abusers meet the same fate.

Greed & cruelty – thy name is man! or specifically the Calgary Stampede! What an abomination! Horses or any other animals associated with this event , as long as the event survives, should be treated humanely and compassionately, not treated and disposed of as trash. Not killed for horse meat. Vets associated with the treatment and slaughter of these poor creatures should be speaking out on behalf of these animals and not condoning these practices. Why do they continue the farce? Management of the Stampede, rather like the Whistler sled dog killings (let’s stop talking about culls or euthanasia – all weasel words), should themselves be asking if they are doing the right thing by the way they treat these animals – of course they are not. They are just in it for the moolah, greed, and delight in seeing suffering. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be doing it. And what messages are they sending to their own children, grandchildren – cruelty is OK if done for money? It really is time for the Calgary Stampedee to be stamped out!


Many years ago I was so excited to be living in Calgary and attending my very first Stampede. When the chuckwagon racing started I just knew by the speed of the horses that there would be an accident and, of course, there was. Two horses went down and did not get up. A tractor came on the field and scooped them up in the bucket and off it went behind the fence. I felt immediately sick to my stomach and was so devastated by what I had witnessed that I left the stands and went home. The Calgary Stampede, Cloverdale Rodeo and everything else across Canada that is a huge money draw needs to be stopped. It is barbaric and an offense to the animals humanity.

It’s disturbing to find out the Calgary Stampede “culls” their stock by sending animals to slaughter. It’s now proven that this is not a humane way for horses to be killed. It’s not euthanasia and it’s not humane. If the CS does not have any way to use animals that don’t make the cut, and they can’t be adopted out, then the CS CERTAINLY has enough money to have vets humanely euthanize them. What a terrible cowardly act for them to send them to equine auschwitz, instead of a vet administering a needle with a humane end.

May I be so bold as to suggest a total ban of all stampedes/rodeos I will never set foot on any grounds where it is known that animals are being abused, that also means the zoos and animal parks . Abuse is widely known in all areas that animals are used in entertainment. Words alone won’t help, If you truly want to help these unfortunate creatures you have to avoid these venues.

The only part of a rodeo i like is when the people get hurt after hurting the animals. It’s abuse.

Humans are what’s wrong with this world! Overbreeding is our fault. No animal deserves this type of abuse. Absolutely disgusting!

I read about the horse slaughter people and I need a shower. I personally, have a standardbred gelding that some “ex” friends were going to send to the meat auction because he has a stifle injury he got while making people money at the trotting track. Now, after getting the exercise he needs for that issue, he’s just fine. He would’ve been slaughtered for no legitimate reason – if there is one – and what a loss to the planet that would’ve been. He absolutely totally amazing!!! They said he couldn’t ridden. I ride him all the time and he truly loves it. People just dispose of these wonderful creatures and it has no affect on their consciences. It’s way beyond understanding.

The stampede will never change unless there is outside presure from the international community. You need support from celebraties – maybe Paul McCarthy is free and will help the way he help gain support against the seal hunt.

Horses will be slaughtered for one more reason, and all women who take Premarin are guilty or the mares’ miserable, horrific life, and their offspring killed and used for dry dog food.

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