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What happened at the Calgary Stampede rodeo and chuckwagon races in 2024?

Photo: Sportsnet

  • Four animals were killed in the Calgary Stampede’s animal events in 2024: three horses used in chuckwagon racing and a steer used in steer wrestling.
  • This was the deadliest event since 2019 and brings the death toll at the Stampede’s animal events to at least 109 since 1986.
  • Animals were also roughly handled and showed visible signs of fear and stress.
  • Please take two quick actions below to protect animals from suffering in the Calgary Stampede rodeo and chuckwagon races.
Take action

Content warning: The following video depicts fatal incidents and animals showing signs of stress and fear.

What happened at the 2024 Calgary Stampede rodeo?

New footage shows stress, suffering, and serious injuries resulting in euthanasia at the 2024 Calgary Stampede rodeo. Take action to end inhumane rodeo events at: vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca/rodeos

Take action

Take the #SayNoToRodeo pledge

The majority of Canadians disagree with the use of animals in calf roping, steer wrestling, bull and bronc riding, and chuckwagon racing. Take the #SayNoToRodeo pledge to reflect your opposition to inhumane rodeo and chuckwagon events. The number of signatures will be referenced in engagement with decision-makers.

Send a message to Calgary Stampede organizers

Send a message to the Calgary Stampede calling for an end to inhumane animal events, which result in near-annual deaths and shocking suffering. Below are some key points you may wish to consider in your message.

Please use your own words and do not copy and paste. Please also remain respectful in your message.

  • Why you’re writing: Reference the fatal incidents during this year’s steer wrestling event and chuckwagon races.
  • This is an ongoing animal welfare issue: 109 animals have died since 1986 (when tracking of fatalities began) and animals die almost every year.
  • Your request: That Stampede organizers remove the rodeo and chuckwagon events from the Stampede and focus instead on the many other activities and attractions that don’t put animals in harm’s way.
Send a message (Contact form)

Having issues with the Calgary Stampede’s contact form? You can email them directly at: info@calgarystampede.com.

Send an email
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Vancouver Humane Society, Animal Justice warn of possible violations at Kelowna bull riding event

Animal rights groups warn of possible violations at Kelowna bull riding event

The Professional Bull Riders is holding an event in Kelowna on July 18

Animal Justice and the Vancouver Humane Society are raising concerns about a bull riding event scheduled for Prospera Place in Kelowna on July 18.

“The groups have alerted RCMP and the BC SPCA about potential violations of B.C.’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and Canada’s Criminal Code during the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) event.”

“‘If the event proceeds as planned on Thursday, bulls will be compelled to buck through the use of hard metal spurs and flank straps specifically designed to cause discomfort, combined with the unnatural sensation of a rider gripping tightly to their back in a loud, chaotic environment in front of thousands of spectators,’ reads a joint media release.”

Read the article
Take action for animals used in rodeo
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Three animals dead in four days at the Calgary Stampede rodeo & chuckwagon events: Media

Photo: Sportsnet

The public is shocked and disturbed as three animals have died in the first four days of the Calgary Stampede’s animal events. Animals die in the Stampede’s rodeo and chuckwagon races nearly every year, and the VHS has been advocating for an end to these inhumane and deadly events for decades.

Read the details of the latest tragic incidents in wide-reaching media coverage below, and speak up against animal suffering at the Calgary Stampede.

Learn more & take action

Calgary Herald

Three animals euthanized after sustaining injuries during Calgary Stampede rodeo

Three animals have been put down following injuries sustained during rodeo events as part of Calgary Stampede 2024.

“An injured steer was euthanized Monday, making it the third animal to die during the 2024 Calgary Stampede.”

“The latest deaths led the Vancouver Humane Society to renew its call for the Stampede to end ‘inhumane’ rodeo and chuckwagon events.”

Read the article

CTV News Calgary

Two animals euthanized after being injured during Calgary Stampede rodeo

A steer that was injured during the Calgary Stampede’s rodeo competition on Monday night had to be euthanized, the second animal to die during this year’s competition, event organizers confirmed.

“The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS), which has been in opposition to the Calgary Stampede rodeo events for some time, said the death of the steer illustrates exactly why the competition should end.”

“Between 1986, when the VHS began tracking fatalities, and 2023, 105 animals lost their lives in the rodeo and chuckwagon races, the group said.”

Read the article

CBC

Steer, 2 horses euthanized at Calgary Stampede rodeo competition | CBC News

A third animal has been euthanized at the Calgary Stampede’s rodeo competition.

“A third animal has been euthanized at the Calgary Stampede’s rodeo competition.”

“The Vancouver Humane Society issued a statement calling for an end to the Stampede’s animal events.”

Read the article

National Post

Steer, two horses euthanized at Calgary Stampede rodeo competition

CALGARY – A third animal has been euthanized at the Calgary Stampede’s rodeo competition.

“The Vancouver Humane Society issued a statement calling for an end to the Stampede’s animal events.”

“‘How many animals will die in these events before the Calgary Stampede does the right thing and leaves them in the past,’ Emily Pickett with the humane society said in a release.”

Read the article

City News Calgary

Calgary Stampede: Injured chuckwagon horse, steer euthanized

Calgary Stampede officials say a horse and a steer have sustained injuries that led to them being put down.

“The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is speaking out following the news of the animals’ deaths.”

“‘We know that animals died almost every year at the Calgary Stampede, but this year, animals have died almost every day,’ said VHS campaign director Emily Pickett.”

“The group claims 108 animals have died at the Stampede rodeo and chuckwagon races since it began tracking fatalities in 1986.”

Read the article

The Daily Hive

Two horses, steer euthanized at Calgary Stampede | News

The Calgary Stampede rodeo has already seen three animal deaths this year, and it’s sparking outrage from animal rights advocates.

“The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) says it’s calling for an end to the Calgary Stampede’s deadly animal events after Monday’s steer wrestling event, which appeared to result in a fatal injury.”

“‘You don’t need to be an animal behaviour expert to see the fear in the eyes of a steer being wrestled to the ground. But we still have research proving that animals experience visible signs of stress and elevated stress hormones in rodeos,’ says Emily Pickett, VHS campaign director.”

Read the article
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Steer and three horses dead in Calgary Stampede’s cruel animal events

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur \ We Animals Media

  • Just four days into the Calgary Stampede rodeo and chuckwagon races, two horses used in the chuckwagon races and a steer used in steer wrestling have been sadly euthanized due to serious injuries.
  • On Friday, July 5th, a horse sustained an injury due to wagon interference during the sixth heat and was euthanized, according to media reports.
  • On Saturday, July 6th, an outrider horse sustained a serious injury during the second heat of the chuckwagon races and was euthanized. The heat was not aired on Sportsnet, citing an issue on another team where a driver fell out of the wagon.
  • On Monday, July 8th, a steer sustained a serious injury during a steer wrestling event and was euthanized. In the footage from Sportsnet, a contestant twists the steer’s neck back until the steer falls to the ground, remaining stiff and motionless. Staff rush into the arena with medical kits.
  • On Saturday, July 13th, a horse suffered a fracture during the eighth heat of the chuckwagon races and was euthanized.
Take action
Learn more

Content warning: The following video depicts the serious injury of a steer, which results in him being euthanized.

Fatal injury at Calgary Stampede steer wrestling, July 8, 2024

Footage from the Calgary Stampede on July 8, 2024 shows a steer being wrestled to the ground. He sustains a serious injury before staff rush into the arena with medical kits. The Calgary Stampede has confirmed that the steer was euthanized as a result of this injury. Footage: Sportsnet.

Take action

Send a message to Calgary Stampede organizers

Send a message to the Calgary Stampede calling for an end to inhumane animal events, which result in near-annual deaths and shocking suffering. Below are some key points you may wish to consider in your message.

Please use your own words and do not copy and paste. Please also remain respectful in your message.

  • Why you’re writing: Reference the fatal incidents during the steer wrestling event and during the chuckwagon races.
  • This is an ongoing animal welfare issue: 100+ animals have died since 1986 (when tracking of fatalities began) and that animals die almost every year.
  • Your request: That Stampede organizers remove the rodeo and chuckwagon events from the Stampede and focus instead on the many other activities and attractions that don’t put animals in harm’s way.
Send a message (Contact form)

Having issues with the Calgary Stampede’s contact form? You can email them directly at: info@calgarystampede.com.

Send an email

Take the #SayNoToRodeo pledge

67% of Canadians are opposed to the use of animals in rodeo. Take the #SayNoToRodeo pledge to reflect your opposition to inhumane rodeo and chuckwagon events. The number of signatures will be referenced in engagement with decision-makers.

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B.C. rodeo footage prompts cruelty complaint while government continues funding: Take action

  • With the 2024 rodeo season underway, the VHS is raising concerns about the treatment of animals at recent rodeos in Clinton and Keremeos, including two egregious incidents at the Clinton rodeo.
  • The incidents have since been reported to the BC SPCA.
  • The VHS is also speaking out about a new round of government funding awarded to rodeos, including the Clinton rodeo. 
  • Use the quick action tool to speak out.
Take action
Read & watch update
Public funding of rodeo

Take quick action

Join the VHS in calling on the B.C. government to: 

  1. Stop providing public funding to events that include rodeos; 
  2. Do more to protect animals from inhumane treatment in rodeo events. 

Cruelty allegations at the Clinton rodeo 

  • Footage shows handlers inhumanely attempting to move a visibly stressed bull from one area to another. The bull is dragged and choked by a tightened rope around his neck and an electric prod appears to be used on the animal repeatedly, including on the animal’s anus.  
  • Another clip shows an agitated horse being repeatedly struck in the face while in the bucking chute. The horse attempts to back away from the handler, but the handler continues to follow and strike the horse. The handler proceeds to punch the horse in the neck and the horse responds by dangerously rearing up in the chute. 
  • Other clips capture stressed animals being roughly handled, deliberately agitated, and put at risk of serious injury. 

Cruelty allegations at the 2024 Clinton rodeo

New footage from the 2024 Clinton rodeo in British Columbia captures concerning treatment of animals, including rough handling, risk of injury, and stress and fear responses in animals. Take action to support an end to inhumane rodeo events at: vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca/rodeos

Stress & suffering at Keremeos rodeo 

  • Footage shows rough handling, including animals being hit, having their tail pulled and twisted, and being deliberately agitated so they burst out of the chute at high speed. 
  • Several clips show animals being put at risk of injury, including animals falling, being choked and dragged by the rope around their neck, and limbs getting stuck in the chutes. 
  • Other clips capture visibly stressed animals thrashing in the chutes and resisting handlers.  

Stress and suffering at the 2024 Keremeos rodeo

New footage from the 2024 Keremeos rodeo in British Columbia captures concerning treatment of animals, including rough handling, risk of injury, and stress and fear responses in animals. Take action to support an end to inhumane rodeo events at: vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca/rodeos

BC government continues to fund rodeos 

This spring, the B.C. Ministry of Tourism announced a new round of public funding for B.C. events, including rodeos. Through the Ministry’s Fairs, Festivals & Events fund, more than $680,000 was awarded to events that include rodeos, including $6,400 for the Clinton rodeo.  

Last year, the VHS documented animals being roughly handled, deliberately agitated, and exhibiting signs of stress and suffering at several rodeos that received B.C. government funding.  

The VHS continues to strongly oppose the use of taxpayer dollars to fund rodeo events, citing systemic animal welfare issues and strong public opposition to the use of animals in rodeos. The VHS has requested a meeting with the Ministry of Tourism to discuss the matter.  

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Tell the Calgary Stampede to cut the cruelty

The 2024 Calgary Stampede is underway from July 5-14, and with it comes the controversial rodeo and deadly chuckwagon races that result in animal fatalities nearly every year.

To date, at least 105 animals have died at the Calgary Stampede since tracking began in 1986. 

The VHS continues to call on the Calgary Stampede to cut the cruelty and keep the fun.  

Take action
Learn more

Take action

Take the #SayNoToRodeo pledge

67% of Canadians are opposed to the use of animals in rodeo. Take the #SayNoToRodeo pledge to reflect your opposition to inhumane rodeo and chuckwagon events. 

Follow & share Rodeo Truth

Check out RodeoTruth.com for more information about the rodeo and chuckwagon races at the Calgary Stampede. This public awareness project is a collaboration between the Vancouver Humane Society and concerned Calgarians.  

To keep spreading the word about why the Calgary Stampede should buck inhumane animal events, follow Rodeo Truth on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok and share the posts. 

Learn more

Near-annual fatalities 

Nearly every year, there are animal deaths at the Calgary Stampede. 105 animals have lost their lives at the Stampede since 1986, when the VHS began keeping track. Most deaths occur during the chuckwagon races due to the fast pace and close proximity of the horses and wagons.

Injuries and deaths may also be underreported, as it can take up to 48 hours after an incident for an injury to present.  

Screenshot: CBC News

A bull in the ring at The Calgary Stampede rodeo

Animal welfare concerns

Many rodeo events rely on the use of fear, stress, and discomfort to make animals flee and buck through tools and methods like spurs, flank straps, and rough handling. This also puts them at unnecessary risk of injury and death. 

Animals demonstrate visible signs of stress during rodeo events, including the presence of “eye white” when their eyes roll back, excessive salivation, vocalization, resisting handlers, and urination and defecation. Research demonstrates that calves experience acute stress and negative emotional states when they are chased and roped.  

Many rodeo events contradict industry requirements for the handling of farmed animals, which state that quiet handling techniques must be used and that abusive handling is unacceptable. If these rodeo practices were used on farms, they would be illegal.   

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals Media

Growing public opposition

Public polling in recent years reflects growing opposition to rodeo: 

  • 2022 poll: Removal of the rodeo and chuckwagon events from the Stampede program would have virtually no impact on attendance rates and would bring in new crowds. 
  • 2024 poll: More than half of Calgarians oppose government funding being provided to rodeo events. Nationally, almost two thirds of Canadians also oppose such funding being given to rodeos. 
A pie graph indicating 61% on a background of a hand holding a rope used for rodeo
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New exposé reveals gruelling journeys of horses transported for slaughter

Photos: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

  • A new exposé from Animal Justice reveals that the gruelling journeys of horses exported from Canada for slaughter regularly exceed legal limits.
  • About two thirds of horse shipments tracked were estimated to exceed the already-lengthy 28 hour limit.
  • “But even if all these shipments were legal, there’s just no ethical way to transport horses halfway around the world for slaughter.”
  • The Vancouver Humane Society has signed an open letter demanding an immediate halt to live horse exports.

Flying Above the Law: Inside Canadian Horses’ Long Journey to Japan

For the first time, the same shipments of Canadian horses being sent to Japan for slaughter have been documented leaving Canada & landing overseas. Animal Justice is releasing new groundbreaking footage of these harrowing journeys, breaking the 28-hour legal time limit for travel. Take action: https://bit.ly/4bkINJn

Watch & take action

Animal organizations demand government action

The Vancouver Humane Society has signed onto an open letter to Canadian decision-makers after a new exposé reveals the horrific hidden journeys of horses exported for slaughter.

The CFIA allows horses to go a gruelling 28 hours without food, water, or rest when being transported. However, Canadian officials only track the journey until horses land on foreign soil. In reality, horses spend hours on the other side of the ocean painfully hungry, thirsty, and exhausted before reaching their destination. Time spent in transit regularly exceeds the 28 hour legal limit.

Videos also reveal horses sprayed with harsh disinfectant chemicals when they reach a quarantine facility. The horses are so dehydrated that some try to lick the painful chemicals off the nets of the transport truck.

You can read more about the investigation and open letter in the CBC.

Read the open letter
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Take action for plant-based progress in Canada (federal e-petition)

  • Animal agriculture is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions as well as wide-scale animal suffering.
  • In 2023, nearly 859 million land animals were killed for food in Canada.
  • Moving toward a plant-based food system is a vital step for animal well-being and environmental protection.
  • A new parliamentary e-petition calls on the Government of Canada to take three plant-forward actions which would help meet its climate commitments.
Sign the official petition

Tell the government to take plant-forward action before October 8th

Moving toward a plant-based food system is one of the most significant changes our society can make for animal welfare and environmental protection. If every Canadian who eats animal products switched to plant-based food just one day each week, our nation would save nearly 123 million animal lives per year.

A new federal e-petition calls on the government to:

  • Educate Canadians on benefits of eating less meat, dairy, eggs and more plant-based foods in keeping with Canada’s Food Guide;
  • Require federal institutions and federally funded food programs (eg; National School Food Program) to procure more plant-based foods; and
  • Limit growth of industrial animal agriculture and support small-scale farmers using resilient, humane, sustainable farming practices.

Can you sign the petition before October 8th and help save millions of animals from suffering and slaughter?

Sign now

Important: After you sign the petition, be sure to check your email and click the confirmation link to ensure your signature is counted.

A mother cow and calf on a farm sanctuary
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Canada to ban open-net pen salmon farming in British Columbia

Canada to ban open-net pen salmon farming in British Columbia

Environmentalists hail decision to end practice in five years but aquaculture industry warns of 6,000 jobs at risk

The Canadian government has announced a decision to ban open-net pen salmon farming in British Columbia coastal waters in five years!

Fish farms keep fishes in crowded conditions that can lead to stress, disease, and the spread of parasites, which farms combat by relying heavily on antibiotics. Open-net fish farms pose a major problem for wild fishes because they allow waste, disease, and chemicals to seep out into the surrounding ecosystem.

Polling shows a majority of residents in British Columbia support ending open-net salmon farming, as have 120 First Nations.

Read the article
Learn more about fishes
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Welfare group documents exotic animal escapes, attacks

Animals on the lam: Welfare group documents exotic animal escapes, attacks

In a bid to draw attention to the ongoing and dangerous problem of keeping exotic wildlife in captivity, either in zoos or as house pets, World Animal Protection Canada is building a new database and interactive online map to document all the events it can find.

“In a bid to draw attention to the ongoing and dangerous problem of keeping exotic wildlife in captivity, either in zoos or as house pets, World Animal Protection Canada is building a new database and interactive online map to document all the events it can find.”

Michèle Hamers, wildlife campaign manager for World Animal Protection Canada, hopes that the database will “compel people to ask for more comprehensive laws to protect animals and people.”

Typically, bylaws and provincial laws around wild and exotic animals include a prohibited animals list. These lists can leave gaps that allow many wild and exotic species who do not thrive in captivity to be kept as pets, while even more can be kept in facilities such as zoos and aquariums.

The VHS is calling on the B.C. government to introduce better protections for wild and exotic animals in captivity, including adopting a positive list approach, which allows only those species that meet certain evidence-based suitability criteria to be kept, bred and transported.

Read the article
Take action on animal captivity