This is a story I never thought I would have to write and I’m sorry that I have to write it now. For every year but one since 2005, SHARK investigators have documented and exposed the animal cruelty, injuries and deaths at the Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD) rodeo. In our experience, the Cheyenne Rodeo is the most cruel of any we have investigated, and we’ve investigated rodeos all across the US and into Canada.
Last winter, SHARK discovered that Joan Jett was scheduled to perform at CFD. Joan Jett is a longtime, vocal advocate for animals. We figured that there was no way she was aware of the horrifically cruel celebration for which she was booked. We made contact with Ms. Jett’s management, which claimed to be unaware that the Cheyenne Frontier Days was a rodeo. We were happy to educate them, as we have educated others.
An injured calf struggles as she is carted out of the rodeo arena
Ms. Jett’s management initially seemed to take the matter very seriously. We were told that Ms. Jett might donate the proceeds of her CFD show to SHARK, but we responded that we could not accept what would essentially be blood money. Ms. Jett’s camp suggested that she and the band might wear SHARK t-shirts, and we thought that was a great idea. We realize that once a band is booked, it is hard to get out of a contract without legal repercussions, although some groups have been dedicated enough to do so.
SHARK investigators with Joan Jett’s band member at the CFD. We had hoped this story would have had a better outcome, but Joan Jett would not commit to never playing a rodeo again. She may have thought SHARK wanted her attention, but what we want is to make the world a better place for the animals.
The pop group Matchbox Twenty cancelled their scheduled performance at Cheyenne in 2008, stating: ”it would be impossible for us to put ourselves in the position of making money from what we believe to be the mistreatment of animals.”
Matchbox Twenty didn’t back down, and neither did SHARK when the booking agent sued us, first in Wyoming, and then in Nebraska. We won both lawsuits. Rikki Rockett of the rock group Poison stated: “this is the last gig like this and the rest of the band agrees with that” meaning they will not be performing at rodeos in the future Poison drummer Rikki Rockett is a vegan and longtime animal supporter.
There are, of course, those who speak out of both sides of their mouths about animals. “Horse lover” Shania Twain performed at the Calgary Stampede, which regularly kills horses and other animals. Obviously Ms. Twain’s “love” of horses extends only to the point where her lust for money begins. But that wasn’t something we would have expected of Joan Jett, who always claimed it was the music - not the money - that was important.
We would have been happy if Ms. Jett had simply stated she would not perform at another rodeo. Instead, Ms. Jett issued a statement that didn’t even rise to level of being weak. It was so weak that I choose not to share it with you at this time, because we still hope she will do a great deal better.
When we expressed disappointment to Ms. Jett’s manager, Kenny Laguna, he accused us of having “lack of gratitude” and claimed we were trying to “bully” them. That is not true.
What SHARK is trying to do is to get those in the entertainment world who care about animals to stop supporting cruelty. Entertainers who perform at rodeos do indeed support cruelty. Rodeos are bringing in entertainers because the rodeo performances alone are not self-sustaining. That is also why rodeos need corporate sponsors to help support them (see CorporateThugs.com). When entertainers like Joan Jett and Shania Twain perform at rodeos, they support rodeo animal abuse.
Interestingly, after I expressed disappointment with Ms. Jett’s weak, noncommittal statement, Mr. Laguna ordered me not to use it. That's nonsense. We could use the statement - that’s why it was sent to us - to use it. We may still post the email but as I said, we still hope that Joan Jett will come up with something better - a lot better. Otherwise, Ms. Jett is no better than Shania Twain - a hypocrite who wants to look like an animal supporter, but is willing to support animal abusers for a paycheck.
One particularly ironic twist is that just a week before Joan Jett performed at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, she was the special guest at a benefit for many of the same kind of animals that the Cheyenne Rodeo was brutalizing and in some cases injuring and killing.
Here is our shoutout to Joan Jett. Joan, we hope you will look into your heart and decide what is truly important. Joan, please tell the world that you will support the animals, and not work with, nor support animal abusers in the future. Just say NO! to the cruelty, cowardice and corruption of rodeo!
SHARK and the rest of the compassionate world await Ms. Jett’s response. We’ll let you know if we hear anything from her.
Please write to Joan Jett and ask her to make a strong statement against rodeos and that she will never perform at one again:
Pig "Rassle" Update: Corrupt Law Enforcement Ignores Animal, Child Abuse
Watch SHARK's latest video exposing the cruel church sponsored pig "rassle."
Click the picture to watch the video.