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Unnecessary Pain
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Unnecessary Pain

There are some animal sports that have received quite a deal of negative publicity due to its treatment of the animals. Horse racing is one of them, which I have already looked at, but what about rodeos? What is their way of working with these royal beasts, and how are they managing them?

Rodeos are comprised of several sports and each one has its own rules. For starters, barrel racing is one sport where the horses are treated well. Their owners have air-conditioned trailers for them and they even get massages before and after the event to ensure they remain limber and healthy. This is a far cry from regular horse racing, where the animals are forced into unnatural conditions such as running on pavements, and treated like disposable belongings. In this case, they aren’t; when the horse can’t race anymore, the owner still looks after it because it is now part of the family. Furthermore, whips aren’t common and the riders only tap on the horse with their boots on the way to the finish. Of course, there are some good and bad riders, as in every sort of sport, but in this case, the rotten apples are few and not doing much damage to the rest of the apples in the basket.

As for the other activities, they don’t have such a nice track record. Many put the animals through quite a high level of pain, fear and stress – and not just the horses. Even though these are traditional events, there are many other ways one can get entertainment that is cruelty-free and even promotes the well-being of both humans and animals.

Here are some the reasons why rodeos are not recommended:

Fear, pain and stress: they actually make the animals bolt into the ring by kicking or even electrocuting them. As for how they get the horses and bulls to buck the way they do, they attach a flank strap so tightly, the animals jump out of sheer discomfort, which could lead to injury. After, the fear of the noise and of being chased is not an appropriate way to entice an animal to give you a show.

 Injuries and death: Too many animals become injured and even at times die during the show or due to the injury received during the rodeo. Some animal activists tallied the number at 40 for the Calgary Stampede since 1986 which may seem like a small number, but if you take into account that it means 26 years, so an average of two per year. It’s not terrible, but not within the range of ideal, either. And this only includes the deaths that were registered by the Stampede. How many were not reported? And how many injuries led to the animals eventually being sent to a slaughterhouse?

Learning about violence: Children watch this, and they start believing that this is the normal way to treat animals, and perhaps even other human beings. Several societies state that a person who treats animals well learns to be compassionate to other people. There are even some studies that prove that 75% of psychopaths have done harm in some way to animals in their youth. This glorification of animal violence is the opposite of compassion; seeing how they rope and choke a calf, then slam it to the ground to tie its feet, is far from being kind to it. And although horses buck when they are young, it’s not in their nature to continue all the way throughout adulthood. This is why they need the flank strap, which causes such a high level of discomfort that they work hard at throwing off the person sitting on them.

 

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Leave a Comment

  1. Chestnut Mare
    Chestnut Mare
    Voted. A very thought-provoking blog. Everything that I have heard and seen about rodeos convinces me that they must be very cruel to the animals.
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  2. Chestnut Mare
    Chestnut Mare
    PS Thanks for your vote today, I have just got to Top Posts in record time, yee-haaa!! (I don't agree with rodeos but I like that expression!!)
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  3. sweedly
    sweedly
    While watching rodeo's there is concern for animal safety. I have heard of some rodeo managements that take excellent care of their animals and I have also seen first hand some who care more about the money their making then the animals in their care. The bulls are the only ones who get a chance to get even with their riders. Very good blog. I voted.
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  4. jst4horses
    Some rodeos are worse than others. I liked some rodeos I attended with barrel racing friends, the animals are not abused, and in fact, the cruel sports have been taken out. They have calf tagging, where the riders have to grab ribbons off of free calves, or steers, rather than fling the animals to the ground. I think, as in movies such as BUCK and SOLDIERS and HORSE SENSE, many people who were brought up with violence and with violent treatment of animals have grown into adults who spend their careers making sure others learn better methods. I think it is up to the competitors in any sport to make the animals partners, not just cogs in a self aggrandizing or greedy wheel.
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  5. PonyGirl
    PonyGirl
    I have worked with horses all my life and I love all animals. And I am certainly against any kind of animal cruelty. But you have gotten some misinformation about both horse racing and the rodeo. I have worked on the thoroughbred racetrack for over 30 years, and while there are some thing that need to be changed in the industry, horses are NEVER run on pavement. I have no clue where you could have gotten that idea. The race horses are kept off any pavement when at all possible. There are horse paths of dirt or of a non-slip matting from the barn area to the racing oval at all recognized racetracks. The only time a horse is allowed to get above a walk on the pavement is when they are jogged for a short way so a vet can check them for soundness. You also seem to have the wrong idea about the bucking stock at rodeos. All the better rodeo companies take excellent care of their bucking stock. These are valuable animals and need to be in top shape to perform. Horses who buck in rodeos are there because they LIKE to buck and are not suitable for riding horses. If the rodeos didn't take them most of them would eventually end up going to slaughter. And nowadays bucking stock is actually bred. Painted Valley is a bucking horse sire who has a facebook page. You can check the page out and see how well cared for and valued he and his offspring are. You can also go to Emily Hilton's public facebook page and check out her Lessons Learned and Memories Made post. Watch the video under the "A Closing to Last a Lifetime" section to see how valued the bucking horses are. The bucking straps are only used to encourage higher action. At worst they are an annoyance to the horse. And since they are only ridden 8 seconds (if that long) for only a few times a week, this hardly constitutes cruelty. While I admire your passion and applaud your wish to do something to help animals, you are actually doing disservice to the very cause you are trying to help. Condemning two whole industries whose horses are valued, well treated, and cared for on the whole, because of a few bad apples, takes away from the specific and very real cases of animal abuse which are out there.
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  6. jst4horses
    I agree with ponygirl. If people make false statements, or blame the regulated rodeo, track or shows for things that go on in illegal events, it will make people not take notice when real abuse is going on. I used to feel hunting dogs were horrible, then married a hunter. His dogs were all sweet tempered, loved everyone, and were totally trained not to harm any animal, just retrieve. If my husband and his friends were an example, not too many birds had much to fear either, in more than ten years and thousands of dollars of equipment, gear, guns, not ONE of them ever brought home a goose, few ducks, and while sometimes a limit of quail, they mostly just came home with a hangover and a fat dog that had spent the evenings picking their steaks out of the ice chests left open by mistake. I think that for most of the horse industry, the same is true. I know some trainers who have bucking horses, they are famous and make money, and they know the difference between the saddle and the bucking gear. The horses are sweet tempered, and give the grand kids a ride. I again think it is up to all of us to make sure the bad animal people are kept to a minimum.
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  7. jst4horses
    I agree with ponygirl. If people make false statements, or blame the regulated rodeo, track or shows for things that go on in illegal events, it will make people not take notice when real abuse is going on. I used to feel hunting dogs were horrible, then married a hunter. His dogs were all sweet tempered, loved everyone, and were totally trained not to harm any animal, just retrieve. If my husband and his friends were an example, not too many birds had much to fear either, in more than ten years and thousands of dollars of equipment, gear, guns, not ONE of them ever brought home a goose, few ducks, and while sometimes a limit of quail, they mostly just came home with a hangover and a fat dog that had spent the evenings picking their steaks out of the ice chests left open by mistake. I think that for most of the horse industry, the same is true. I know some trainers who have bucking horses, they are famous and make money, and they know the difference between the saddle and the bucking gear. The horses are sweet tempered, and give the grand kids a ride. I again think it is up to all of us to make sure the bad animal people are kept to a minimum.
    Log in to reply.

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