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Tormenting animals to make them buck

The rodeo industry likes to say that bucking bulls and horses only work a few seconds a year and otherwise lead pampered lives.  They also like to talk about the animals being “born to buck.”

But if you watch this video you’ll see that bucking bulls are tormented at a young age to “train” them to buck.   A metal weight (called a dummy) is placed on their backs and is only released when they buck their hardest.  The animals are clearly distressed and want the weight off their backs.  What animal wouldn’t?   Can you imagine doing this to dogs?  It’s only because we are conditioned to seeing livestock treated badly that there is no public outcry against such practices.  Yet cattle and horses, as prey animals, are especially likely to suffer fear and stress from such treatment.  And they are subjected to this distress for the trivial purpose of amusing humans (and to make money for a few of them).

It’s true that bucking bulls and horses are deliberately bred to have a genetic predisposition to buck.  But even with such a predisposition, it’s still necessary to torment them with “dummies.”   And even that’s not enough to ensure they buck for the crowds – there’s also the flank strap, which is tied around the animal’s hindquarters to cause further stress.  It’s only released when the animal stops bucking.

The whole bucking stock industry is designed to make animals behave unnaturally.  Is it not perverse that this industry, including the Calgary Stampede, strives to breed horses that no one can ride?  It’s the exact opposite of what real cowboys have historically sought to achieve.   That’s because rodeo has little to do with the genuine traditions of real ranching.  It is a circus and, like all circuses, it exists to exploit animals for the sake of entertainment.

And what happens to the animals that are not good enough for this circus? As we now know, there’s a good chance they’ll end up in the slaughterhouse.

More information on the Calgary Stampede.

18 replies on “Tormenting animals to make them buck”


This is so true! Thank you. …”this industry, including the Calgary Stampede, strives to breed horses that no one can ride.” Yeah, what an honourable calling.
We domesticated our animals very thoroughly, and even now, the horses mostly aren’t out to hurt us. The only way to get them to react negatively and violently is to flank them, and I find that disgraceful. There are horses who love to buck. But they aren’t at the rodeo.
At Calgary last year, a grand old mare, 16 years old, had to be held up by ropes in the chute, or she’d lie down. Her only form of protest, ignored all these years. Poor old mare. She was an CFR finalist and all. They won’t buck with any regularity, if you don’t flank them. Slam your spurs into a school horses’ shoulder, and you’ll likely get tossed. The position the rider assumes for his mark-out is guaranteed to get a negative reaction from even a broke horse. Horses are not couches.
Notice how the horses’ mouths gape? That isn’t a smile of happiness. The broncs are the ONLY horses to gape their mouths while they “work”. Mouth breathing is not a normal behaviour in horses. Look at any competition horse at the end of his work. If his mouth is open, he’s in serious trouble. Vets will tell you to be very concerned, if you see your horse breathing through his mouth. Not in rodeo, though. They call it “effort”. I call it horror.
They are often used in a very unfit condition, often pretty over-weight. Hardly what I’d call “athletes”.
I’ve heard a rodeo supporter liken the broncs to a demolition derby, with horses instead of cars. Meat machines, if you have the rodeo attitude. Get a little western means what? Get a little cruel.
Thank you for this post. I only hope the young people will finally understand what the issue is with the abusive rodeo events. It’s high time to treat animals with respect.

Hey “horse in the garage”… go and talk to a farmer who raised these stock and ask him how much a month he puts to caring for these animals and giving them the most pleasant life he can. This is all bull (the artical above) my best friend raises rodeo bulls. They are not treated like this. People exxagerate.

I live on a farm. Talk to farmers all the time. Next question?
OH, and btw, it matters not that these animals cost money to feed. If you didn’t feed them, they wouldn’t run. A weak animal is no fun to chase and scare half to death.
These are RODEO stock contractors, completely different from actual cattle farmers/ranchers. The RODEO stock contractors breed ’em to abuse ’em, and they make good money doing it. If the stock is injured, oh, well, off to slaughter.
Dog-fighters use the same argument, you know.

Back in Chile we have similar rodeos and there has been protests for several years now. I am really surprised that no protesting was ever evident at the Calgary Stampede event. Albertans are truely brainwashed to tyhink this is acceptable behaviour. The analogy of a dog going thruogh this is priceless. Thank you, thank you for giving these animals a voice.
I have always resented the glorifying of trashing of these gentle animals and as a rookie vegetarian I am agianst anything that feeds the industry’s poor treatment and exploitation of them.
Lets stop the screams, cries, torture…lets treat our animals with love ad respect.
It is time.

Emili Gomez

Actually, there are protests at the Stampede, but the Stampede-loving media rarely cover the story. I personally have attended these protests every year since 2001. We get between 8-12 people (which is really pathetic), but these protests are really intimidation because rodeo fans have no qualms about confronting us verbally and even physically. We have had bottles thrown at us, raw meat thrown at us, and even physical shoving. This is why I think we don’t get more people out to the protests. It’s very sad, but what do you expect from those who think animal abuse is a form of entertainment.




Does that tell you anything at all?
I can see how it might be intimidating.
Here you have a “very” small group of people getting in the faces of a very big group of people. What would you expect? People dropping to their knees and thanking gawd they’ve seen “your” light?

HAHAHA! You go Aqualung! The reason why that group is so small is because no one will support that! Everyone supports the stampede and other rodeos because they are fair to animals. Go and talk to a real cowboy.

This year we had 30. Our numbers are growing in Calgary. Many people who walk past us express equall disgust at the rodeo and chckwagon racing, and say they are only going for the midway and exhibits.

It is a shame that people who have no idea about not only rodeo but farming and ranching can do damage to both with ill informed smear campaigns. I am willing to bet the a lot of the planning and dicussion of this issue takes place over a nice barbequed steak , hamburger or hot dog.
I know that rodeo stock and most farm animals are treated with more care and respect than you people show to others who do not agree with your particular agendas.
Too bad this type of BS caused common sense and thoughtful decision making to become endangered species.

If stopping the senseless suffering and death of animals in rodeo and chuckwagon racing qualifies as an “agenda”, then sign me up!

You all don’t have a clue about rodeo this story is full of half truths stop apreading false info for your cause.

The stampede is brainwashing the media. How else do explaine a special “stampede section” in the Calgary Herald?

Farming and ranching have nothing whatsoever to do with current rodeo “shows”.

These rodeo animals are bred to be tormented. Period. Of COURSE, you have to feed them, fcol. They don’t run if they aren’t fed, you know. duh.

from a farm in Ontario.

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