Three horses die in Stampede chuckwagon race

VHS issued the following news release on July 12:

Death of three horses at Calgary Stampede
Vancouver Humane Society calls for suspension of chuckwagon races

The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling for the suspension of the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races following the death of three horses in this evening’s race.

Clearly, the Stampede’s much publicized safety improvements have failed to make the race any safer,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “Horses continue to die needlessly. This has to stop.”

Fricker said the Stampede should suspend the races immediately and conduct a full safety review of the event using independent expertise.

The Stampede has run out of excuses,” said Fricker. “Now is the time to take real action to stop these horses from dying.”

More than 50 horses have died in the chuckwagon event since 1986.

–ends–



36 comments

  1. So you end chuckwagon racing. would you mind telling me what will happen to all the ex wagon horses?? And if you say adoption you know very well that very few of these horses would be adopted most would be slaughtered. If it was not for the wagons most of these horses would have been slaughtered after their flat racing career was over. Maybe a few would have went for jumping or dressage but the majority would be slaughtered. So if chuckwagon racing ended tomorrow would the Vancouver Humane Society adopt and find homes for all these horses?? It is very easy to condemn something it is a whole other story to find alternatives

    • Shelley I think you mean well — and you make a very valid point — however the fact that there are not many options for these horses does not make the Chuck Wagon races any less cruel and inhumane. The solution to the problem probably starts with stopping horse racing altogether so all these “surplus” horses would not exist. The race track “uses” the horses (again for entertainment and money) and then discards them like unwanted trash. If you put yourself in the horses place you — like most of us — would probably chose death to a lifetime of suffering. I was fortunate enough to own a beautiful thoroughbred that we bought after his short racing career was over. He was gentle, loving and intelligent and I cannot bear the thought that many others like him are subjected to the terrible cruelty of Chuck Wagon racing. We have to get this stopped and then deal with the consequences that you have so correctly identify.

      • so you owned a throughbred congrats I am assuming you used him for your own “entertainment” please see below in regards to the rest of your comments. Oh and by the way I used to work for the SPCA. Was born and raised on a ranch. I have seen more cruelty with owners that buy little Sally or Billy a pony or horse with absolutely no clue as to what it entails to take care of a horse A year later the child is no longer interested in the horse so there it sits out in the pasture either starving in the winter or foundering from being so fat in the summer or hooves grown out so bad they are starting to curl. Vaccinations and worming are non existant. Or how about the person that figures they need to own 20 or 30 head of horses and then realize that they cannot feed them or look after them properly. Time and time again I was sent out on these calls and believe there is nothing worse than seeing a starving horse. Every sport that uses horses is for entertainment and/ or money. There is risk of injury with any of these performance horses. There is also risk of injury to a horse with bad riders. Could you imagine 160lbs or more bouncing up and down on your back?? The back injuries to horses because of bad riders is actually quite high and unfortunately most of them are too ignorant to realize that their horse is hurt and seek medical attention for these animals. Why not concentrate on all these idiots. Like I said anyone that rides a horse is doing it for either their entertainment or the publics

  2. Is there a petition or something we can sign to try and put a stop to these cruel events?

  3. We think anything that makes animals ‘perform’ should be banned. Every act at the Calgary Stampede mistreats horses, bulls, calves etc.… It should be stopped.

    • Why dont you shut down all the horse racing and rodeos in BC first and then lets have a chat. Clean up your back yard first before you pick on the Stampede.

      Or do horses not die in BC at these event??

  4. Why don’t you clowns quit your whining. This is a great sport & Western Canadian heritage at it best. These horses would have been put down a long time ago, if there wasn’t a home for them in chuckwagon racing. They are anything, but abused. They are well cared for and only spend about 4 months of the year racing. If you you clowns don’t like it, don’t watch it. I can’t understand why you homogenized and pasteurized, city queers are always trying to change the rural way of life. Between this and hunting, you don’t understand benefits and revenues that are raised to help wildlife. These rodeo stock owners love & care for their animals as much or more than you city people with your toy dogs and such bothering your neighbors & deficating in public places. You should be ashamed of yourself for trying violate the rights of other Canadians in the self promotion crusade you have going. Why don’t you go try saving some starving or sick children and leave taking care of animals to the rural people of this country, who know what they are doing. You guys make me sick.

    • In my opinion, Killing animals for the viewing pleasure of humans is cruel, sick and inhumane. If these “cowboys” really cared about animals, they would not use them in these events. As for the argumant that these horses would have been put down long ago, at least they would not have suffered painful bone fractures and heart attacks before being killed. It’s the 21st century. Anyone who finds chuckwagon racing entertaining should seek therapy.

      • Ken

        Lets ban hockey lots of head injuries, bones broke, heart attacks and even a few deaths out there——————oh sorry that is what we make our kids play for entertainment

        Nascar, figure skating, soccer, etc all have injuries to humans

        Maybe you should try riding one of the bulls that want to kill you

        Chuck wagon and all racing brings a beautiful animal to center stage for the world and yes some get hurt.

        Maybe we should ban hockey after our athletes like Sidney, Mario, Wayne, and countless others have been injured for life.

        Nascar racing———–how many in the ranks get killed each year in crashes

        I know a lot of pet owners who should never own pets.

        give the horse a chance

        • Sidney, Mario and Wayne all had a choice. These horses do not. “Beautiful animal being on centre stage” .…..yeah right!!! It’s all about the money — and it’s not the horses who are benefiting.

          • Money??? have you ever met anyone in Rodeo. There is no money, it is for love of animals and the sport.

      • so you end horse racing and chuckwagon racing altogether are you then going to find homes for everyone of these horses Or are you going to let them go to slaughter?Obviously you have never been around chuckwagon racing to say that these drivers discard these horses like unwanted trash. Pretty expensive trash consdering a lot of these horses are bought for tens of thousands of dollars, So if you end racing of any kind then you had best be ending any performace event of any kind including dressage and jumping because trust me i have also been around these events and in the barns and have seen the horrible cruelities that these horses endure to get them to jump or go into some of the unatural gaits that are asked of them. And these sports are also for “entertainment and money” Again I urge any person that is against the wagons and horse racing to go to a barn and see how well these horses are cared for until anyone can make an informed opinion you had best be keeping your mouth shut,

    • Western Canada Heritage at it’s best, huh? As one of the “rural people” you talk about who has owned, loved and cared for horses for years I can confirm for the general public that — contrary to what you are saying — tormenting, terrorizing and making horses run till something breaks or their hearts explode is not our idea of the proper way to care for animals. Sorry Steve but it’s a fact.….somebody should have told you. It’s also a fact that if a person “likes” watching something like this then they are the ones who should be ashamed not the “city people” you refer to. Tsk Tsk no wonder Canadians are getting such a bad name.…

  5. How can you honestly think you know anything about this sport. Have you ever participated in any kind of sports let alone ones involving animals. Maybe you should just focus on the crulty of owners who over feeding their animals causing health issues or those that think having a litter box is better than letting thier animal outside.
    Or are you the ones that make their dog or cat eat vagen because YOU have an issue.
    People who make comments like tormenting animals to make them buck should shut their mouths as they have no idea what they are talking about.
    Nobody likes to see an animal injured more than these people so back off

    Anita Holmes

  6. The VHS is calling for a suspension of Chuckwagon racing? These horses were BRED for the purpose of racing. Did Peter Fricker live a sheltered life when he was younger and is starved for a attention. What was he BRED for? Terrorism? A number of these horses come from Hastings Park in Vancouver but I never hear of Fricker shutting them down or Fraser Downs outside of Vancouver. It wasnt long ago that over 100 sled dogs were slaughtered under Frickers nose.

    Every year Fricker waits hoping that there will be horse injuries at the Calgary Stampede so he can terrorize those outside of his home province.

    His concern is not about the horses. There are thousands of thoroughbred race horses in the sport today. If Fricker was to get his wish would he find homes for all these horses?Probably not.

    So when you hear or see comments by Peter Fricker and it looks like bull stinky…its bull stinky

    • Peter Fricker is one of the few people in this country who has the nads to speak out against something that most people know is wrong. As an Albertan, what I find truly “terrorizing” is the news every year of another animal being killed for someone’s amusement. Grown men racing, riding and roping helpless animals is the most cowardly thing I have ever seen. I wish we had a million Peter Fricker’s in Alberta.

  7. I totally agree, the Chuckwagon races need to be cancelled out for good. Stop killing the animals they also have a life to live! We do not need to have chuck wagon races in order for people to get entertained or making money off of these horses! Keep our horses Alive Calgary!

  8. The Stampede will always say the chuckwagon racing is popular because the stands are always full. However, I’ll wager that two thirds of the people in those stands are only there for the evening grandstand show, or not wanting to be there at all.

    Companies and businesses buy thousands of rodeo/chuckwagon tickets, probably at a reduced price, then give these tickets to their employees and families. The employees feel obligated to go to the rodeo and chuckwagon races because they fear they might be labelled a radical or outsider at work if they refuse. This is one way the Stampede tries to fill the seats, so they can turn around later and say “see how popular we are”! I believe that many people who attend the rodeo and chuckwagon events don’t even want to be there in the first place.

  9. Come on…please stop feeding your own conscience with all this stuff about horse owners loving their animals as much or more than some of you love your cats and dogs…I don’t make my dog perform for the pleasure of humans…putting her at risk of being hurt.…and saying these animals are bred for racing…true but not for racing in dangerous situations..whatever your reasoning for defending the stampede…step back and take a look at it for what it really is…hopefully you will change your opinions.

  10. People who use horses in the Mexican “sport” of mangana (horse-tripping) use the same argument. “We are using horses that would otherwise be slaughtered”. So, the horses are bought dirt cheap, then run in the chucks, and if they die? Well, it’s still cheap to replace them. Calgary, you seem to forget that you slaughter horses all the time in your province, and you insist it’s done humanely, and your very own Claude Bouvry stated that a dead horse is worth up to $20,000.00. With those numbers, you can’t lose.

    It’s all about the money, Calgary.

    From a farm in Ontario.

    • oh and you had better have a lot of land and a lot of money to feed all these horses when you do shut it down. Or are you going to let them all go to slaughter?

  11. True, its all about the money…and who makes it? The Chuckwagon association profits from advertising and casinos reap their share on betting odds.
    Blacklist all the advertisers then shame the casinos and the cretin ‘cowboys’.
    There’s a reason bull fighting, cock fighting, bear bating, and dog fighting have all been abolished. It is not civilized. What’s wrong with Calgarians?

  12. The Calgary SPCA and Calgary Humane Society is totally involved with the Stampede and work hard to make sure the animals are safe.

    Why dont you shut down all the zoos and aquariums in BC and let those poor animals back into the wild? just sayin!!

    watch the video of the chuckwagon crying over the loss of his horses and you might understand how much these horses mean to the driver.. they are loved as much as a family pet.

    http://​www​.cbc​.ca/​n​e​w​s​/​c​a​n​a​d​a​/​c​a​l​g​a​r​y​/​s​t​o​r​y​/​2​0​1​2​/​0​7​/​1​3​/​c​a​l​g​a​r​y​-​c​h​u​c​k​-​w​a​g​o​n​-​h​o​r​s​e​-​d​e​a​t​h​-​f​o​l​o​.​h​tml

  13. I just wanted to thank the Vancouver Humane Society for putting an active role into protesting the animal cruelty at the Calgary Stampede every year. I am a native Calgarian and I am absolutely ashamed of the rodeo shows where countless animals die just so drunk grown men can gawk in entertainment.

  14. why not give the horses a vote.

    Now they can be sent off to SLAUGHTER

    or

    be well fed, exercised daily, groomed each day like a spa, hooves trimmed, brushed, bath each day and likely an attractive young lady doing it, all they want to eat etc etc etc just to pull a chuckwagon with your buddies

    or

    again go to an assembly line for slaughter at a young age.

    We humans are no better to our selves———–I have seen worse crashed at Nascar Race and people get killed all for sport

  15. I have seen the true treatment of animals at the Stampede, at High River, and at various other events, and one thing is abundantly clear. These animals enjoy an extremely high level of care and attention at all times.
    As for the detractors in Vancouver, I still have fond memories af the way your people (citizens) behaved after losing in a hockey series.
    When your own porch is cleaned up, then you might look and criticise other places.
    Rodeos are events that are woven in to our nations heritage, and are a way of life for thousands, including B C residents.

  16. I’ve read another rodeo supporter likening rodeo to a demolition derby with animals/horses. Meat on the hoof, and we can treat it any way we please. This attitude trickles down, you know. The welfare of the animals in rodeo must be secondary to their use in the rodeo. I have no issue with the idea behind most of the events. I get how important they are to our communities. I do take issue with twisting those events around to create the “Man vs. Beast” atmosphere. What does that tell young kids about routine animal treatment? Are they just stupid boxes of protein, or do they feel stress and fear in these events? ALL the stock is domesticated, hardly “wild”. (Which, btw, zoos/aquariums have wild animals, just so you know. How many horses & cattle have you seen in a zoo?)
    Wrestling large livestock is always a dangerous business, which is why I’m still unclear about the need for the junior events. They look like great kids. Why are they risking their lives for a prize? The accident rate in Calgary goes up, as everyone tries their hand at “getting off on the pain”. Huh?
    I’m for safety sense first, and then animal welfare follows naturally. I was glad to see the No Jerkdown rule being implemented. It seemed to be ignored during the early go-rounds I saw. It’s still a safer practice to avoid the clotheslining in the first place. Which is, of course, why fencing was invented.
    I do wish the guy shoving the calves out of the chute had a name, instead of “The calf is a hard runner!“
    No, a big guy pushes them hard out of the chute.
    Way more fun to hurry them up and wrestle them, I guess.
    And tell me, why would an experienced old bronc almost flip over in the chute? You’d think the older buggers would know enough to show their (cough) training.
    Buffalo Bill, at least, knew he was “putting on a show”. Why not show other realities of ranch life? Why not show off cutting? I just don’t get it.. Sorry.
    We’ve actually learned better ways of handling our stock, but that isn’t the point behind rodeo. I can imagine the flightier rodeo stock having an awful time on the slaughter line, myself. I’m sure the animals at the Stampede ALL have fairy-tale endings when they’re “done”. Like the ex-bronc my old boss picked up at auction…
    From a non-vegan, living on a farm in ontario.

  17. Good points are raised by some supporters of the rodeo,such as what do we do with the horses if they are not racing or the calfs if they are not being roped.However I won’t support an event where 1000 volt electric prods are used to make the animals perform.Or performers kicking animals when they are down​.As far as I know they wave money in front of Syd the kid to make him perform.Chances are most of those who support it have a financial stake in it.