Media Release

New billboards urge Calgarians to rethink rodeo and chuckwagon races

A billboard in Calgary questions government funding for rodeo events after more than half of Calgarians say they oppose it. Source: Vancouver Humane Society.

VANCOUVER, May 14, 2024 – In the weeks leading up to the Calgary Stampede, new billboards popping up across the city are urging Calgarians to skip the rodeo and chuckwagon races.

These images remind observers that rodeo is “No fun for the animals” and that “Rodeo animals aren’t performing. They’re suffering.” They also highlight a statistic from a Research Co. poll conducted earlier this year, which found that “More than half of Calgarians oppose government funding for rodeo events” – a shocking statistic considering the Calgary Stampede receives about six million in taxpayer dollars from the provincial government each year, as well as support from the municipality.

“The billboards encourage people to rethink supporting events that cause animal suffering,” said Vancouver Humane Society’s (VHS) Chantelle Archambault. “You can see the fear in the eyes of calves being roped at high speeds and steers having their necks twisted back until they fall to the ground. It’s not entertainment; it’s cruelty.”

Archambault noted that public opinion on rodeo is already changing. This year’s Research Co. poll found that more than half of Albertans disagreed with the use of animals in steer wrestling (54%), calf roping (51%), and bronc riding (51%). When presented with photos of calf roping, 60% of Albertans and 62% of Calgarians said they would “probably” or “definitely” not watch the event.

Near-annual animal deaths at the Stampede may be one reason for the events’ declining popularity. 105 animals have died at the Stampede since the VHS began tracking fatalities in 1986, including 75 horses used in the chuckwagon races. A growing body of research shows animals used in events such as calf roping experience acute stress and are at risk of serious injury.

An end to inhumane animal events doesn’t mean an end to the Stampede. A 2022 poll from Research Co. found that the removal of the rodeo and chuckwagon events from the Calgary Stampede program would have virtually no impact on attendance rates and would attract new crowds. The VHS hopes to see the Calgary Stampede continue to evolve into an event that celebrates the city’s culture and represents events in Canada on the world stage without the rodeo and chuckwagon races.

The billboards are being run as part of the Rodeo Truth project, a collaboration between the VHS and concerned Calgarians.

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SOURCE Vancouver Humane Society   

For more information, contact Chantelle Archambault: 604-416-2903,

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