VHS would like to thank everyone who has supported our ongoing efforts against cruelty to rodeo animals at the Calgary Stampede.
Another Stampede is over and two more animals are dead – a chuckwagon horse and a steer. The steer is the third to die in the steer-wrestling event in the last five years. More than 80 animals have died at the Stampede since 1986.
It is frustrating for all those who care about the suffering of rodeo animals that the Stampede has refused our call to end calf-roping and suspend the chuckwagon race, pending a review by an independent panel of experts. These are reasonable requests that, if met, would help the Stampede evolve toward a more humane form of entertainment. But they refuse to listen or compromise. We are now also officially calling for an immediate end to steer-wrestling. Enough is enough.
While media reports focus on the deaths of rodeo animals, the other key issue is the blatant cruelty inflicted on them. They are subjected to fear, pain and stress for the sake of entertainment. That is perhaps even more immoral that putting them at undue risk of injury or death.
The Stampede has made a number of changes aimed at improving the safety of the animals but these clearly have not gone far enough. Animals are still dying every year. It does show, however, that the Stampede feels the pressure of public opinion. That pressure must be kept up until real, meaningful change happens.
This year, thanks to your support for our campaign, VHS was able to draw substantial media attention to animal cruelty at the Stampede. More than 80 media outlets in Canada quoted VHS on the issue. We also used social media to raise awareness of what really happens to rodeo animals and we enlisted the support of many more people in the fight against the abuse they suffer. Our e-campaign encouraged more than 3300 people to email the Stampede directly to call for an end to calf-roping.
VHS is not giving up this fight. Not as long as animals continue to suffer at the Stampede and in rodeos across the country.
We appeal to you to continue supporting our efforts, and the efforts of other animal groups, to keep the pressure on the Stampede. They must be held to account. We can’t let the animals down.
Again, thank you to everyone who is standing with us against rodeo cruelty.