Rodeo Video Raises Questions of What Happens at the Chutes

Posted: Feb 25, 2008

By This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., KOLD News 13 Reporter

Wild rides at the rodeo received a critical eye from the stands.

"What other athlete, animal or human can you think of that gets shocked if they don't buck?  It's ridiculous," said Steve Hindi, president of Showing Animals Respect And Kindness, or SHARK, based in Illinois.

Tucson rodeo

He shot video of what appears to be a man holding something up to a horse before it takes off, and posted his video on the Internet.

"Only the Power Mite is short, black, with two bronze colored prongs," Hindi said.

"Having seen this video, I don't know how Mr. Hindi could have identified this brand and particular voltage on it.  I certainly couldn't," said Tucson Rodeo general manager Gary Williams.  He said that sometimes a horse that won't leave the chute needs a prod.

"If they start bucking inside that confined space, even with the gate open, it can injure or kill the horse or even the contestant," Williams said.

Even the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association agreed.  But Hindi said that doesn't make it right.

"They're violating a Tucson ordinance and even the prod maker has specified this not be used in rodeos," he said.

"Animal cruelty's a serious issue," said Tucson City councilman Steve Leal.  The rodeo is in his Ward 5.

He said that he is willing to look into the matter, but questioned why the video went public before SHARK notified authorities.  Hindi had no problem saying that he needs publicity.

"Media attention has a major effect on how the authorities react.  Rodeos are very connected to where they've been established for a long time," Hindi said.

"I mean we weren't forced to do an ordinance about animal cruelty; we did it because we cared.  And so, that should give us the benefit of the doubt," Leal said.

Hindi said that the Hot Shot Power Mite packs five or six thousand volts.  Others in the livestock industry said that amount is much less than an electric fence.

But Hindi said that the Arizona Department of Agriculture is now investigating, and a department spokesperson said that they take these matters seriously.

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