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Rodeos Kill Animals: Let's Stop Pretending They Don't

                           Now You See it, Now You Don't!

The following article was too hot for Psychology Today to handle. After being up on their site for approximately 24 hours, they choose to take it down. But Dr. Bekoff stands by every word he wrote.

More incidents of pain and death at rodeos demand we stop excusing them

July 21, 2013
by Marc Bekoff, Ph.D.
Website here

In a previous essay titled "Horse Shocked and Dies at New Jersey Rodeo: Time to Ban Them" I wrote about pain, suffering, and death at two different rodeos. Now, additional instances of inexcusable harm and death have come to light, along with another incident of extreme animal abuse.

Steer killed during "slack event" and photographers blocked from filming the aftermath

In a horrific and totally avoidable incident at the California Rodeo in Salinas, California, supported by Macy's, a steer was killed when a horse trampled him during a bull dogging/steer wrestling event. You can read the gory details here and see a video here. To quote an article from the Central Coast News, "The steer died during one of the slack events for the rodeo. When there are more cowboys than slots in the rodeo, they compete and post their times during slack times, which is generally held the morning of the rodeo or the day before."

 

Photographers from this news agency also were interfered with. To wit, "Central Coast News was filming in the area and caught the aftermath of the incident on camera. Several riders on horses surrounded the steer and someone even put their cowboy hat in front of our camera in an effort to try and stop our cameras." Steve Hindi, president of Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), filmed the incident and says "he's outraged by what he sees at rodeos everywhere. 'A lot of people have fun but they are having fun at the expense of the animals,' Hindi said. 'The animals are literally dying to entertain them.'" 

Macy's dismissive boilerplate response reads as follows: "Macy's takes great pride in supporting the communities and events important to the residents where we conduct business. In that spirit, we are pleased to be a part of the California Rodeo Salinas. Macy's supports the rodeo's commitment to livestock safety and welfare, including ensuring the proper medical services on site to ensure prompt and professional care if any injuries occur. We appreciate hearing the feedback from our customers, and we will continue to monitor the situation. Regards, Corporate Communication, Macy's, Inc." 

You can contact Macy's executives here and politely ask them withdraw support for this rodeo. 

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On the same day the steer in California was killed, another steer was brutally killed and a calf was injured (a broken tibia) at the Coca Cola sponsored Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo (CFD) in Cheyenne, Wyoming. You can read the gory details here and watch a video here. Please call Coca-Cola at 800-438-2653 or email them here, and ask them to stop sponsoring rodeos.

Last, but surely not least, and we can be sure that these will not be the last injuries or death to an animal abused in a rodeo, at the Ute Stampede Rodeo in Nephi, Utah, a video shows a man sticking a long wire into a horse's backside. I can't think of anything more to say about this egregious act, but I'm sure others can and will. 

Let's not be "slacktivists": It's time to ban rodeos from abusing and killing animals for fun and entertainment

Please take the time to put an end to rodeos and the sanctioned and horrific abuse of sentient beings who care about what happens to them and to their families and friends. Their pain and suffering are palpable and the videos and stories bring tears to my eyes and break my heart, and I know they will to you as well.

No one I know would tolerate this sort of sanctioned, intentional, and reprehensible abuse to dogs, cats, or other companion animals (aka "pets"). By not politely taking action we are pretending that this well-documented and repeated abuse doesn't really happen, but it does. 

Let's not be slacktivists and do something right now. 

The teaser image, also shown here, is from this most disturbing video. In it you can see the steer being trampled for "fun and entertainment." 

Note: A comment posted to an earlier essay of mine called "Killing Sharks for Fun: See it All on NBC Sports Network" nicely summarizes much of what is currently happening concerning the misrepresentation and abuse of animals in media and in "entertainment". Geoff, a reader, wrote, "Nothing better demonstrates the moral bankruptcy of modern corporate culture than the broadcasting of revolting, barbaric behavior under the guise of 'entertainment.'" 

 

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society, and a former Guggenheim Fellow. In 2009, Dr. Bekoff became a member of The Humane Society University and a scholar-in-residence at the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver and was also presented with the Saint Francis of Assisi Award by the New Zealand SPCA. In 2000, he was awarded the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society for major long-term contributions to the field of animal behavior. Dr. Bekoff is also an ambassador for Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program, in which he works with students of all ages, senior citizens, and prisoners.

Dr. Bekoff has published more than 200 scientific and popular essays and 22 books including Minding Animals, The Ten Trusts (with Jane Goodall),The Emotional Lives of Animals, Animals Matter, Animals at Play: Rules of the Game (an award-winning children's book), Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals, The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint, the Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships, the Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior, and two editions of the Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare.