SHowing Animals Respect and KindnessSHARK
Animal rights activist uses video truck to protest rodeo
Friday, December 8, 2000
The Las Vegas Sun
By Jace Radke
While thousands of rodeo fans make nightly trips to the Thomas & Mack Center for the annual National Finals Rode, Steve Hindi is driving in circles outside the arena hoping to show a different side of the sport.
Hindi, the founder of the nonprofit Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, is in Las Vegas with a high-tech truck equipped with video screens on the sides, back and above the windshield that show clips of steer roping.
"We've been getting a lot of positive public response from people who see what we have to show, and can't believe the cruelty that is going on," Hindi said. "This is the maiden voyage for the truck. We drove it here from Illinois because we though this event, and the fact it's in Las Vegas, would be a good test run."
The truck cost more than $120,000, but it was money well spent, according to Hindi.
"I think it's more effective than having 100 protesters out front of an event," Hindi said. "People may not stop to listen to the protesters' message, but they can't help but see the images we are showing."
The images are of the rodeo event known as steer roping, and often show views of the steers' heads being snapped around after being roped by a cowboy on horseback. Steer roping is not an event that is featured at the NFR, held in Las Vegas during the first 10 days of December.
Steer roping is similar to calf roping, but with mature steers. A steer is loosed in the arena, and a cowboy on horseback who ropes and ties the steer the fastest wins. Often when the steer is first roped it is snapped around as the rope become taut.
It's that twisting and snapping of the steer's head and neck that Hindi feels is cruel to the animal.
"You won't see steer roping, or steer tripping, in Las Vegas because they don't want people to see what happens in that event," Hindi said.
Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association officials say the steer roping is more regional in nature, with participants mainly from Texas and Oklahoma. Steer roping is not held at the NFR because there is not adequate space in the Thomas and Mack to hold the event, PRCA officials said.
Hindi says that his video truck will be used at future rodeos, bullfights and circuses. He plans to head to California next and wants to use the truck to help protest Mattel's new "Bullfighting Barbie doll."
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