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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