Media Release

New footage showcasing animal welfare issues at several BC rodeos prompts cruelty complaint and calls for change

VANCOUVER, November 2, 2023 – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling for a cruelty investigation after newly-released footage taken at several rodeos across British Columbia revealed stressed animals being harshly handled, agitated into fleeing and bucking, and put at risk of serious injury. 

The VHS says the footage, taken from recent rodeos in Princeton, Chilliwack, Armstrong and Merritt, illustrates systemic animal welfare issues throughout the rodeo industry.  

“Numerous clips show animals being hit and kicked, thrashing in the chutes, and having their tails and ears harshly pulled and twisted,” said VHS Campaign Director Emily Pickett. “This type of cruel handling is in addition to the already stressful nature of rodeo events.” 

The VHS also points to a number of clips in which animals are put at risk of serious injury, including animals running into or falling over fences; calves being choked and dragged by the rope around their neck; and frightened animals resisting handlers. 

“It’s hard to watch the footage, but it’s important that it be seen,” added Pickett. “This is the reality of what these animals endure in roping, bucking and wrestling events, all for the sake of public entertainment. It’s unacceptable.” 

The VHS notes that standard rodeo practices cause fear, stress, pain, and discomfort to animals. In rodeo events, fleeing calves are roped around the neck, jerked to a sudden stop, and thrown to the ground before having their legs tied; horses and bulls have a flank strap tightened around their sensitive underbelly and spurs raked along their sides to agitate them into bucking; riders jump on steers and twist their necks until they fall to the ground; and steers are roped around the neck and hind leg and stretched from each end until they are brought to the ground.

Recent public polling shows that a growing majority of residents in BC (65%) and across Canada (67%) are also opposed to the use of animals in rodeo events.  

The VHS has submitted a cruelty report to the BC SPCA outlining the incidents and issues captured in the footage. Concerned Canadians are also being encouraged to call on their local Mayor and Council for a bylaw that prohibits inhumane rodeo events and to ask BC’s Minister of Tourism to no longer provide public funding to events that include rodeos. 

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SOURCE Vancouver Humane Society   

For more information, contact Emily Pickett: 604-416-2903,

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