Media Release

Vancouver Humane Society calls for an end to inhumane rodeo events at the Calgary Stampede

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on the Calgary Stampede to discontinue a number of inhumane rodeo events, which cause animal suffering, stress, and even death for the sake of entertainment. VHS urges the Calgary Stampede to eliminate three particularly concerning events: calf roping, steer wrestling, and team roping.

“It is impossible to look at close-up photos of these rodeo events without concluding that the animals are suffering,” said VHS Campaign Director Emily Pickett. “The fear in the face of a calf who has been roped at full speed, thrown to the ground, and tied up is obvious and heartbreaking.”

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.

There is some good news for animals at the Calgary Stampede. The dangerous and fast-paced chuckwagon races—which have been dubbed the “half mile of hell”—were cancelled this year due to safety concerns surrounding the lack of a racing season ahead of the Stampede. The Calgary Stampede also made the recent decision to drop one wagon from the race; it remains to be seen whether this will decrease the risk of injury and death. Animal advocates hope that these measures are only the first step toward a safer event.

This year’s cancellation of the chuckwagon races would offer an excellent opportunity to address ongoing safety concerns that have led to more than 70 horse deaths since 1986. VHS calls on the Calgary Stampede to suspend the races until an independent review by experts, including veterinarians, animal behaviourists, and equine specialists, can determine whether or not the event can be made safe for the animals involved.

Dropping events that compromise the welfare and well-being of animals does not mean the end of the Calgary Stampede. In fact, a more animal-friendly and family-friendly Stampede could continue to be a successful attraction with the added support of the 59 per cent of Canadians who oppose using animals in rodeo. VHS has launched a campaign encouraging the public to call on Stampede organizers to drop these inhumane rodeo events and seek an independent, expert review of the chuckwagon races.


For further information: Contact Emily Pickett: 604-416-2902