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Rodeo on the run?

Thats entertainment?

According to media reports, the “dysfunctional” Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) is in chaos, with its general manager being fired and several board directors resigning.

This follows the the CPRA’s failure to negotiate a deal to keep its championships, the Canadian Finals Rodeo, in Edmonton.  The CFR will now be held in Saskatoon, starting in 2017.  (You can urge the City of Saskatoon not to host the rodeo here.)

All this may signify a lack of public support for rodeo, which is good news for animal welfare.  VHS has exposed the suffering of rodeo animals with photos from a number of events, most recently at the Williams Lake Stampede.

The CFR’s move from Edmonton to Saskatoon means the rodeo will be in a venue with a seating capacity of 9,550 instead of one with a capacity of more than 18,000.  In short, the move likely means fewer people will see the rodeo and its growth will be limited.

Meanwhile, the Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo Association, which has been organizing rodeos since the 1990s, has announced that it has “ceased all operations, effective immediately”.  This follows the cancellation of two professional rodeos in British Columbia – one in Abbotsford, the other in Victoria – in the last two years, after campaigns by VHS and other animal advocates.

In addition, attendance at this year’s Calgary Stampede was the lowest in 22 years. While this was blamed on bad weather and Alberta’s economic downturn, it suggests that rodeo has a limited appeal.  There is certainly evidence that this is the case, with a December 2015 poll showing that 63 per cent of Canadians are opposed to using animals in rodeo.

As more people learn the truth about rodeo cruelty, the harder it will be for rodeo to attract new fans.  VHS intends to make sure that’s exactly what happens.