Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on the Canadian Football League (CFL) to drop plans to hold a rodeo as part of this year’s Grey Cup Festival in Calgary.
“After the public outrage at the deaths of six horses at this year’s Calgary Stampede and the Stampede’s long history of controversy over animal deaths and cruelty, it’s hard to understand why the CFL would associate itself with rodeo,” said VHS spokesman Peter Fricker.
Fricker pointed to polling that shows a majority of Canadians (63%) are opposed to rodeo, as are virtually all animal welfare organizations.
“As the Grey Cup is a national event, including a rodeo is clearly unrepresentative of Canadian values and interests,” Fricker said. “People in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, where CFL attendance has been in decline, have little interest in rodeos.” He noted that Vancouver banned rodeos in 2006.
Fricker said the CFL should look to the example of the National Basketball Association and the Toronto Raptors, which marketed family-friendly entertainment to a diverse and inclusive audience that represented modern Canadian values.
“It seems tone-deaf for the CFL to link Canadian football to rodeo at the league’s premiere event,” he said.
VHS has launched a campaign asking the public to urge the CFL to drop the rodeo from its Grey Cup plans.