Categories
Media Release

Horse dies just weeks into Hastings race season 

Incident reportedly results in horse death at Hastings Racecourse, May 25, 2024

Less than one month after the racing season began at Hastings Racecourse, the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) has received an anonymous tip that 3-year-old Lizzie’s Rayne was euthanized following an incident at Saturday’s event. Video: Hastings Racecourse.

Update

On May 28, 2024, B.C.’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB) confirmed in an email to the Vancouver Humane Society that Lizzie’s Rayne sustained a complete fracture of the left hind leg on May 25. The injury was unrecoverable and Lizzie’s Rayne was euthanized. Her tragic death marks the first horse death at Hastings Racecourse since the racing season began on April 27.

VANCOUVER, May 27, 2024 – Less than one month after the racing season began at Hastings Racecourse, the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) has received an anonymous tip that a horse was euthanized following an incident at Saturday’s event. 

3-year-old Lizzie’s Rayne reportedly broke her leg during the running of the fourth race. In a live video of the event, Lizzie’s Rayne appears to be forced between the rail and another horse. She can be seen stumbling and falling behind, and does not finish the race. 

“Each time a horse loses their life at Hastings Racecourse, it is heartbreaking and sadly unsurprising,” said VHS’s Communications Director, Chantelle Archambault. “The racing industry puts these beautiful, sensitive animals through fear, stress, and risk to their lives, and these incidents are commonplace.” 

The BC’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB) confirmed that there were eight horse deaths at Hastings Racecourse last year, including four horse deaths in the span of just three weeks between July 16 and August 7. 

The VHS has pointed to inherent welfare concerns around horse racing, including stressful, aversive training methods, the use of painful tools like whips and bits, the breeding of thoroughbred horses for speed rather than skeletal strength, the risk of injury and death, and the risk of being auctioned off for slaughter for horses who are no longer profitable at the end of their short careers. 

“This is why the VHS is asking Vancouverites not to attend horse racing events. These horses are being bred and run to death for the sake of an afternoon of human entertainment because there is profit to be made in people attending and betting on races.”

More information and a pledge not to attend horse racing events can be found on the VHS website

– ends –      

SOURCE Vancouver Humane Society     

For more information, contact Chantelle Archambault: 604-416-2903, chantelle@vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca 

Related links: https://vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca/posts/hastings-racecourse-begins-live-racing-season/

Related media: https://youtu.be/P0NHNcogYBc?si=A-GpIqOmjbXYEsHJ

Categories
Media Release

Videos from recent rodeo in Keremeos raise animal welfare concerns 

VANCOUVER, May 27, 2024 – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is raising concerns after footage from a rodeo held in Keremeos over the May long weekend showed stressed animals being put at risk of serious injury. 

“It was shocking and quite frankly difficult to watch some of the footage”, said VHS Campaign Director, Emily Pickett. “One video shows a roped steer being dragged around the arena behind a fleeing roping horse. You can hear the announcer yelling for someone to cut the rope and, at one point, the steer defecates – which, in this context, is an indication of stress. Finally, the rope is cut and the steer is freed, but we don’t know if the steer sustained any serious injuries from the incident, as injuries may take up to 48 hours to present and that information isn’t made readily available to the public.”

Footage also showed a horse in a bad way, with a foot stuck in an unusual body position. It appears like the horse fought being in the chute and then gave up, with a response that looks like learned helplessness. This kind of shut down behaviour happens when an uncomfortable or painful situation presents repeatedly and there is no escape. 

In yet another video, a visibly agitated bull gets his hind leg stuck for several minutes between the bars of a bucking chute, with little effort made to assist the animal as the rodeo carries on around him. 

The VHS pointed to public polling conducted in February which found that just under three in five Canadians said that they would “probably” or “definitely” not watch bull riding (59%) and saddle bronc (58%), two of the events seen in this month’s Keremeos rodeo. 

This is not the first time the VHS has released concerning rodeo footage in B.C. In recent years, videos from other rodeos have highlighted animals being inhumanely handled and deliberately agitated. These more recent incidents at the Keremeos rodeo reiterate the risk of serious injury and death that animals used in rodeo events face, all for the sake of public entertainment.  

The VHS is encouraging decision-makers to prohibit roping, wrestling and bucking events, which rely on the use of fear, discomfort and stress to make animals perform. Other jurisdictions are already leading the way, including the City of Vancouver, District of North Vancouver and City of Port Moody, which all have bylaws prohibiting inhumane rodeo events and practices.

– ends –    

SOURCE Vancouver Humane Society   

For more information, contact Emily Pickett: 604-416-2903, emily@vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca

Related links:

Related media:  

Raw footage: 

A steer is dragged at Keremeos Rodeo

A steer is roped before being dragged across the arena by a roping horse at Keremeos Rodeo. The steer displays signs of stress. Source: Vancouver Humane Society.

A horse becomes caught in the chute at Keremeos Rodeo

A bucking horse becomes caught in the chute at Keremeos Rodeo and displays signs of learned helplessness. Source: Vancouver Humane Society.

A bull’s leg gets stuck in the chute at the Keremeos Rodeo

A bull struggles in the chute at Keremeos Rodeo when his leg becomes trapped. Source: Vancouver Humane Society.

A steer falls at Keremeos Rodeo

A steer falls during an event at Keremeos Rodeo. Source: Vancouver Humane Society.

A steer is agitated, caught in the chute, and wrestled at Keremeos Rodeo

A steer is agitated in the chute and repeatedly has his leg stuck between the bars in a steer wrestling event at Keremeos Rodeo. Source: Vancouver Humane Society.

Colour graded videos: 

A steer is dragged at Keremeos Rodeo

A steer is roped before being dragged across the arena by a roping horse at Keremeos Rodeo. The steer displays signs of stress. Source: Vancouver Humane Society. Colour graded.

A horse becomes caught in the chute at Keremeos Rodeo

A bucking horse becomes caught in the chute at Keremeos Rodeo and displays signs of learned helplessness. Source: Vancouver Humane Society. Colour graded.

A bull’s leg gets stuck in the chute at the Keremeos Rodeo

A bull struggles in the chute at Keremeos Rodeo when his leg becomes trapped. Source: Vancouver Humane Society. Colour graded.

A steer is run down by a horse at Keremeos Rodeo

A steer falls during an event at Keremeos Rodeo. Source: Vancouver Humane Society. Colour graded.

A steer is agitated, caught in the chute, and wrestled at Keremeos Rodeo

A steer is agitated in the chute and repeatedly has his leg stuck between the bars in a steer wrestling event at Keremeos Rodeo. Source: Vancouver Humane Society. Colour graded.

Categories
News/Blog

Calgary media shares VHS billboards on rodeo cruelty

Could the future of the Calgary Stampede be rodeo-free? Public opinion is shifting on the controversial rodeo and chuckwagon racing, and new billboards from the Vancouver Humane Society are raising more awareness about the animal welfare concerns associated with these events.

The billboards are featured in Calgary media outlets including CTV News Calgary, Global News, and the Daily Hive.

Learn more at RodeoTruth.com

CTV News Calgary

Calgary billboards ask people to skip the rodeo, chuckwagon races

The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) has taken out a series of billboard ads around Calgary encouraging people to skip the rodeo and chuckwagon races at the Stampede this summer.

“The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) has taken out a series of billboard ads around Calgary encouraging people to skip the rodeo and chuckwagon races at the Stampede this summer.”

Read the article

Global News

Animal rights activists say Stampede ‘not entertainment; it’s cruelty’ – Calgary | Globalnews.ca

The start of the Calgary Stampede is over 7 weeks away, but the Vancouver Humane Society has already launched a campaign urging Calgarians to skip the rodeo and chuckwagon races.

“‘The billboards encourage people to rethink supporting events that cause animal suffering,’ says the Society’s director of communications, Chantelle Archambault. ‘It’s not entertainment. It’s cruelty.'”

Read the article

Daily Hive

Billboards are popping up urging people to skip an iconic Calgary Stampede event | News

There are billboards popping up around Calgary protesting a long-standing and controversial event at the Stampede.

“Billboards are popping up around Calgary protesting a long-standing and controversial event at the Stampede. The billboards, released by the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS), encourage Calgarians to shift their perspectives around the Stampede rodeo and chuckwagon races.”

Read the article
Categories
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.

– ends –    

SOURCE Vancouver Humane Society   

For more information, contact Chantelle Archambault: 604-416-2903, chantelle@vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca

Related links:

Related media: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1CmkJS–Ow1QxyjZHEcZi-XkLIq3Oznqy?usp=sharing

Categories
News/Blog

Advocacy continues after horse death at Calgary Stampede

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals Media.

This year’s Calgary Stampede once again ended in tragedy with the death of a horse in Friday’s chuckwagon event. The fatal incident brings the total number of animal deaths at the Calgary Stampede to 105, including 75 chuckwagon horses, since the VHS began tracking fatalities in 1986.

In addition to Friday’s devastating incident, the VHS documented rough handling and signs of stress in animals throughout the rodeo events. Watch and share the videos below to help raise awareness of the routine suffering that animals experience during rodeo events. 

Take action
Read opinion piece

Watch & share the videos:

The above video outlines the many animal welfare concerns that arose at this year’s Calgary Stampede, including the tragic death of a horse used in the chuckwagon races.

Much work is needed to change public sentiment on the suffering of animals in rodeos. When the above video was shared on TikTok, several rodeo supporters commented that they saw “nothing wrong” with the handling of the animals. Hours later, the video was removed from the platform for violating their policy on animal abuse. This inhumane treatment is not simply an unfortunate accident in the rodeo industry—it is considered acceptable and expected as an inherent part of the events.

Please share these videos to help others see how animals suffer in rodeos and support a wider movement away from supporting inhumane animal events.

Take the #SayNoToRodeo pledge

61% of Canadians are opposed to the use of animals in rodeo. Take the #SayNoToRodeo pledge, which will be shared with decision-makers to reflect public opposition to inhumane rodeo events.

Call for a ban on inhumane rodeo events in your community

Some communities, including the City of Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver, and Port Moody, have municipal bylaws in place to prohibit inhumane rodeo events and practices. Call on your city council to follow this lead by implementing a bylaw in your community! 

This action has now ended.

4,143 people used this tool to call for municipal bylaws banning inhumane rodeo events. Thank you for taking action.

See more campaigns
Categories
Media Release

Vancouver Humane Society raises welfare concerns after three horse deaths at Hastings Racecourse 

VANCOUVER, August 10, 2023 – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is once again speaking out against the use of animals in entertainment after recent reports that three horses lost their lives and another was injured in two weeks at Vancouver’s Hastings Racecourse.

A five-year-old horse named One Fifty One was euthanized due to an unrecoverable injury sustained during a race on July 16. On July 22, a three-year-old horse named Lent Me Twenty fell backward prior to a race at The Cup and died. A four-year-old horse named Memorandum was euthanized after sustaining an injury in a July 30 race. 

“It’s heartbreaking, but unfortunately not surprising, to hear of horses losing their lives at these events,” said VHS Communications Director Chantelle Archambault. “Horses’ lives are put at risk each time they step on the track.”  

The VHS pointed out that the stressful, high-speed nature of the races poses inherent welfare concerns. Experts have noted that thoroughbreds are often overbred for speed rather than skeletal strength, making their legs susceptible to injury. The events also use painful tools like bits and whips to control horses’ movements.  

“Unlike human athletes, horses are not given the choice whether to participate and their short careers are marked by fear,” said Archambault.   

Research shows that horses who begin high-intensity activities like racing at a young age have been found to have high rates of injury, and to decline and retire quickly. One study found that during the training and racing of two-year-old racehorses, 85% suffered at least one incident of injury or disease. Another found that of the horses that began racing at two or three years of age, only 46% were still racing two years later.   

When they are retired, typically around four to six years old, horses who can no longer generate a profit are at risk of being sent to auction. There, unwanted horses are sold to the highest bidder including horsemeat buyers.  

Archambault noted, “When we use animals for entertainment, we’re seeing them as objects rather than the sentient beings that they are. These incidents show once again that the safety and well-being of horses is not adequately taken into account.”  

– ends –  

SOURCE Vancouver Humane Society   

For more information, contact Chantelle Archambault: 604-416-2903, chantelle@vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca 

Categories
Media Release

The VHS calls for an end to Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races after horse death

Vancouver, July 15, 2023 — The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is again calling on Calgary Stampede organizers and Calgary City Council to remove the chuckwagon races from the Stampede program, following the death of a horse during Friday’s event.

The horse sustained an injury during the seventh heat of the chuckwagon races and was subsequently euthanized. 75 horses used in the chuckwagon races have died at the Calgary Stampede since the VHS started tracking fatalities in 1986, including two since the Stampede recently changed the structure of the event from four wagons per heat to three.

“The reality is that despite efforts over the years to make the event safer, horses continue to die nearly every year in the chuckwagon races,” said VHS Campaign Director Emily Pickett. “The nature of this event means that any race could quickly turn fatal.”

In fact, in the last two decades, there have only been three years in which the races did not result in horse fatalities: 2003, 2004, and 2016.

The VHS pointed to the structure of the chuckwagon races, which are dubbed ‘the half-mile of hell’, as inherently dangerous. The high speed of the race and the close proximity of the horses and wagons to each other presents a risk of creating a chain reaction if one horse falls or is injured. Furthermore, experts have raised concerns about the use of thoroughbred horses as they are often overbred for speed rather than skeletal strength, making their legs susceptible to injury.

The VHS is also calling for an end to calf roping, team roping, steer wrestling and bucking events at the Calgary Stampede, noting that the events rely on the use of fear, stress and discomfort to make the animals flee and buck for sake of public entertainment.

“Public polling shows that a majority of Canadians oppose the use of animals in rodeos,” said Pickett.

Another public poll of Calgarians conducted during last year’s Stampede found 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.

“It’s time for the Calgary Stampede to move away from these dangerous and inhumane events and to instead focus on the many alternative events and activities that already attract hundreds of thousands of attendees to the Stampede every year,” added Pickett.

– ends –   

SOURCE Vancouver Humane Society  

For more information, contact Chantelle Archambault: 604-416-2903, chantelle@vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca

Categories
News/Blog

#SayNoToRodeo at the Calgary Stampede

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur \ We Animals Media.

Update

The Vancouver Humane Society continues to advocate for an end to inhumane and dangerous animal events at the Calgary Stampede after another horse died in the 2023 chuckwagon races. Read the update.

The controversial rodeo and deadly chuckwagon races are returning for this year’s Calgary Stampede, scheduled from July 7-16.

Learn more and take action to help protect animals from inhumane treatment and suffering in rodeos. 

Take action
Learn more

Take the #SayNoToRodeo pledge

61% of Canadians are opposed to the use of animals in rodeo. Take the #SayNoToRodeo pledge to reflect your opposition to the inhumane treatment of animals in rodeo 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

Deadly history

The Calgary Stampede’s rodeo and chuckwagon races have a deadly history, with more than 100 animal deaths since the VHS started tracking incidents in 1986. 

Last year, a horse was euthanized following a traumatic injury during the chuckwagon races; a horse in a bucking event was repeatedly struck in the face when the animal was reluctant to leave the chute; and a steer appeared injured during a wrestling event, when the steer’s neck was twisted by the competitor until the animal fell to the ground. He landed awkwardly on his hind leg and was seen limping away moments later. 

Animal welfare concerns

Rodeo events like bucking, roping, wrestling, and mutton busting are inherently inhumane. They rely on the use of fear, stress, and discomfort (e.g. spurs, flank straps, rough handling) to make animals perform and put them at unnecessary risk of injury and death for sake of public entertainment.  

Animals demonstrate visible signs of stress during rodeo events, including when their eyes roll back to show more of the white of their eyes, excessive salivation, and urination and defecation. Research demonstrates that calves experience acute stress and negative emotional states when chased and roped. 

These events are fundamentally at odds with how we should be handling and treating animals. In fact, they contradict industry requirements and best practices for the handling of farmed animals, which state that quiet handling techniques must be used and that abusive handling is unacceptable. If these same practices were used on farms, they would not be allowed.  

Growing public opposition

Public polling shows that a majority of Canadians are opposed to the use of animals in rodeo. Another poll indicates that removal of the rodeo and chuckwagon events from the Calgary Stampede program would have virtually no impact on attendance rates and would bring in new crowds. There are many other activities and events at the Calgary Stampede that can be enjoyed without putting animals in harm’s way. 

A pie graph indicating 61% on a background of a hand holding a rope used for rodeo

Read & Share

Categories
Media Release

The future of the Stampede is rodeo-free, according to polling of Calgary residents

VANCOUVER, July 27, 2022 – Removal of the rodeo and chuckwagon events from the Calgary Stampede program would have virtually no impact on attendance rates and would bring in new crowds, according to a Research Co. poll commissioned by the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) during this year’s Stampede.

64% of Calgarians polled indicated that they had attended or were likely to attend the Stampede this year. When asked whether they would attend the Stampede if the rodeo and chuckwagon racing events were removed, 63% indicated they would be likely to attend.

“Until now, we’ve assumed that the Stampede has continued to host inhumane events out of financial motivation,” VHS Campaign Director Emily Pickett shared. “These poll results prove that removing the rodeo and chuckwagons would have little impact on visitor attendance.”

The polling results also indicated that the removal of controversial animal events would pique the interest of new crowds, with 24% of non-attendees from this year expressing interest in attending the Stampede without rodeo and chuckwagon events. Of these, the most prominent change was in the youngest group polled; 43% of non-attendees from this year aged 18-34 said they would be likely to attend the Stampede if the rodeo and chuckwagon races were removed.

“We have heard from many people who avoid the Stampede because of the rodeo and chuckwagon races. Dropping those events is a sustainable change that would attract new supporters and visitors to the Stampede,” Pickett noted.

The support for a rodeo- and chuckwagon-free Stampede draws attention to the 103 animals who have died at the Stampede since the VHS began tracking incidents in 1986, including a chuckwagon horse who was injured and consequently euthanized at this year’s event. The VHS filed cruelty complaints to the Calgary Humane Society regarding incidents captured in Sportsnet coverage of 2022 rodeo events.

“These high-risk and inhumane events draw growing public criticism year after year. It’s time for Stampede officials and Calgary City Council to remove these unnecessary events from the Stampede program.”

Pickett invited anyone wishing to learn more about the animal welfare issues surrounding rodeo to visit RodeoTruth.com, an informational website made in collaboration by the VHS and concerned Calgarians.

– ends –

SOURCE Vancouver Humane Society

For more information, contact Emily Pickett: 604-416-2903, emily@vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca

Related links:

Take the #SayNoToRodeo pledge:

Categories
News/Blog

End inhumane rodeo events at the Calgary Stampede

Update

Though the chuckwagon races did not proceed in 2021 due to time-sensitive safety concerns, Stampede organizers have not committed to removing this dangerous event or the three concerning rodeo events highlighted by 5,354 animal supporters. Please stay tuned for future actions to address cruel events at the Calgary Stampede.

UPDATE – July 26, 2021

A horse was euthanized this weekend following a chuckwagon race in Red Deer, Alberta.

This comes after the Calgary Stampede cancelled their 2021 chuckwagon races due to safety concerns surrounding the lack of a practice season during COVID-19.

The chuckwagon races always pose a risk to horses because of the fast pace of the event and the proximity of wagons and horses on the track. There are also concerns about the use thoroughbred horses in chuckwagon racing, which tend to be bred for speed rather than skeletal strength. This puts them at greater risk of serious injury and euthanization.

The horse who was euthanized this weekend was diagnosed with a muscular-skeletal injury after the accident.

The loss was tragic and preventable.

Please call on the Calgary Stampede to extend their suspension of the chuckwagon races until an independent review by animal experts can determine if they can be made safer.

The majority of Canadians are opposed to rodeo; so why does a Canadian event marketing itself as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” continue to host rodeo events?

59% of Canadians are opposed to using animals in rodeo, and yet the Calgary Stampede continues to host cruel rodeo events year after year that cause animal suffering, stress, and even death. It is clear to most people that twisting a steer’s neck until he falls down or stretching him by the neck and hind legs so he is suspended above the ground is inhumane, but these activities are carried out for the sake of so-called entertainment in the form of steer wrestling and team roping every year.

Watch: The cruel reality of calf roping

The cruel reality of calf roping

This is calf roping, an event held at rodeos including the Calgary Stampede. Take action to end inhumane rodeo events and create an animal-friendly, family-friendly Stampede here: https://vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca/posts/inhumane-rodeo-calgary-stampede/?utm_source=youtube&utm_medium=video-calf-roping&utm_campaign=calgary_stampede

Perhaps the most obviously cruel event is calf roping (also known as tie-down roping), where a calf who is just three months old—long before the age she should even be weaned from her mother—is tormented or “goaded” in a chute leading from a holding pen to the rodeo arena, so that she bursts out at a high speed as soon as the gate opens. Then, as she runs into a ring at around 27 miles per hour, the confused calf is roped around the neck by a rider and jerked to a sudden stop. The rider will then jump to the ground and quickly tie three of the calf’s legs together as she struggles to break free.

Animals used for calf roping, steer wrestling, and team roping can and have sustained injuries during these events that cost them their lives.

Photos of the events make it clear that these animals also experience pain and stress while being roped and roughly handled. Recent research into calf roping has confirmed that calves show visible signs of anxiety and fear while being chased and have elevated levels of stress hormones after roping events.

Another major event at the Calgary Stampede is the chuckwagon races, which has been dubbed the “half mile of hell” by organizers and participants. The races involve several teams of horses pulling wagons in a figure eight course and racing down a track at high speed to the finish line. This dangerous event has caused more than 70 horse deaths since 1986—mainly due to crash injuries and heart attacks brought on by stress. Though the event has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19, organizers have announced a plan to resume the event in 2022.

Watch: The Chuckwagon races, the Calgary Stampede’s deadliest event

The Chuckwagon races: The Calgary Stampede’s deadliest event

These are the Rangeland Derby chuckwagon races, which have caused over 70 horse deaths since 1986.

What has been done to stop these events?

Thanks to the hard work of Vancouver Humane Society’s supporters and other animal rights advocates, some progress has been made in past years in an attempt to reduce animal injuries at the Calgary Stampede. The number of wagons in the chuckwagon races was reduced from four to three following the deaths of six horses in 2019; it remains to be seen whether this measure alone will make the “half mile of hell” any safer for horses.

Up to this point, progress toward making the Stampede more animal-friendly and family-friendly has been slow and hard-won. A serious change by the Calgary Stampede is long overdue to make this fair one that truly represents the values of Canadians.

What’s next?

The Vancouver Humane Society is calling on Calgary Stampede Interim CEO Dana Peers to remove three of the fair’s most inhumane rodeo events: calf roping, steer wrestling, and team roping. The cancellation of the 2021 chuckwagon races also offers an opportunity to employ an independent review by experts (i.e. veterinarians, animal behaviourists, equine specialists) to determine whether or not this event can be made safer in future years. If the Calgary Stampede wishes to be the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”, it must stop causing animal suffering and leave these events where they belong: in the past.

Take action to end inhumane rodeo events!

This action has now ended

5,354 people used this tool to send an email to decision-makers. Thank you for taking action!