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Oprah Winfrey


We were mighty surprised when Oprah Winfrey used a segment of her show to glorify rodeos. What an irony! Oprah overcame both racial and gender challenges to become an enormously successful person, and she did it by creating an image of being credible and caring. Unfortunately, by oozing admiration for a couple of calf ropers and their excuse for "sport", Oprah calls both of these qualities into question.

See what calf roping is really about.

See what rodeo is really about

In another irony, Oprah glorified rodeo animal abuse after taking author James Frey to task for writing a book that, while supposedly being about his life, was largely manufactured fiction. Now Oprah has teamed up with an industry based on fiction, where the only reality is corruption and animal abuse. The history of rodeo isn’t based on ranch history. Rodeo is nothing more than a westernized circus that is cruel and often deadly to the animals forced to participate.

We won’t speculate as to why Oprah did what she did. She obviously doesn’t need the money, so it’s unlikely she was paid off like so many media figures, as well as local police and public officials are where these animal abuse spectacles go on. She isn’t an idiot, so we have a tough time believing that she doesn’t have a clue as to the cruelty involved, especially when there is so much video and still picture evidence available. We hate to think that Oprah simply doesn’t care, although we have an extraordinarily tough time finding any other explanation.

Oprah should do the right thing and truly examine this issue, and then admit that truth to the world. SHARK’s evidence of rodeo animal abuse is as overwhelming as it is irrefutable. For well over a decade SHARK has exposed the rodeo industry’s horrible animal injuries and deaths, and the rodeo industry’s denials of the carnage. SHARK has exposed the rodeo industry’s refusal to disclose either the identities of those who openly violate the rodeo’s indefensibly lax humane rules, and the lack of punishment against those cruel and cowardly violators.

Oprah condemned James Frey for writing a book that fabricated his life history. It’s her right to do so. But Fry’s book didn’t hurt anyone. Oprah Winfrey’s glorification of the rodeo industry most certainly hurts the untold numbers of animal victims who endure the merciless abuses, injuries and deaths that occur at rodeos throughout the US and beyond.

What’s next, Oprah? Perhaps a plug for bullfighting, cockfighting and dogfights? Or maybe you just might have the dignity and character to examine the issue of rodeo animal abuse, and then tell the world the truth.