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HorseImages of a cowboys on horseback come to mind when we hear the word “rodeo.” In fact, rodeos did grow out of the methods cowboys once used to herd cattle to slaughterhouses. Roping and wrestling cattle to manage a herd were common activities. The rodeo tradition began in Spain and Mexico and eventually came to the United States and other parts of the world. Today, the skills the cowboys once demonstrated in moving herds have been turned into the spectacle of the rodeo involving cowboys, and cowgirls in some cases, competing for vast amounts of money while deliberately hurting, permanently injuring, and even killing animals.

Types of Rodeos

  • Bronco and bull riding
  • Calf roping
  • Barrel racing
  • Steer wrestling
  • Goat tying

Types of Abuse and Injuries

  • Animals are subjected to tail twisting and shocks from electric prods.
  • A flank strap is put just below the rib cage and pulled tight to male horses or bulls. The discomfort, often pain, causes the horse/bull to buck wildly in an attempt to fight off the strap.
  • 3-4 month old calves are slammed to the ground again and again causing injury while they are being tied.
  • Steers’ necks are forcibly twisting while trying to be restrained.
  • They suffer torn ligaments, broken bones, fractured horns, internal bleeding, and severed spinal cords or trachea injuries that go untreated.

Life on the Circuit

  • Animals travel in cramped trucks and trailers that may not have adequate ventilation.
  • Animals are fed and watered whenever there is the chance—not on any regular schedule.
  • Animals do not receive regular veterinary care.

Abusive Races
While most of us are aware of the types of rodeos that exist, few may realize there are a variety of horse races that are considered part of the rodeo circuit. The following are three examples of races that can kill or injure animal performers.

Laws Governing Rodeos
There are a wide variety of laws governing the rights of animals in rodeos around the world. Every jurisdiction has a right to enact laws that are fitting for its locale. The United Kingdom and the Netherlands have banned rodeos outright. In the United States, rodeo is the official state sport in Wyoming and Texas. Other countries where rodeo is still a big sport are Canada, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, and Spain.

Take Action to Help End Rodeos

  • Never attend a rodeo or similar event.
  • Educate your friends, family, and coworkers as to the cruel nature inherent in rodeos.
  • If your state condones rodeos, write state officials expressing your opposition to this “sport.”
  • Lobby to shut down rodeo events in your community.
  • Lobby to ensure regulations are changed to protect the animals; make sure those regulations are enforced.
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