CFD officials say 7 animals were treated for injuries at this year's rodeo. But an animal activist group says that figure is "an out-and-out lie"

August 1, 2009

CHEYENNE -- As promised, Cheyenne Frontier Days has released some data on the number of animals that were treated for injuries this year.

According to a news release from CFD, 4,300 animals were used during the 13 days of rodeo and slack events.

"Veterinarians treated a total of seven animals," the release says. "Of those, four are being rehabilitated."

That leaves three that died, explained Bob Budd, chairman of CFD's Animal Care Committee.

One was a mare named Strawberry Fudge, which died during the rookie saddle bronc event.

The other two were steers that were "sent to processing," after being injured, Budd said. That means they were slaughtered for meat.

But the animal rights group SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness) says CFD is being untruthful about the number of animal injuries. President Steve Hindi said the numbers should be much higher.

"It's a lie," he said. "It's an out-and-out lie, and it's time for them to come clean."

At a news conference Wednesday at the Laramie County Library, Hindi showed dozens of videos of animals that sustained apparent injuries during rodeo events this year.

The injuries ranged from spasms and broken bones to animals limping out of the arena.

He said he counted more than a dozen injuries and added that he was disgusted with this year's rodeo.

Budd responded that animals that appear hurt often turn out to be fine once they are out of the arena.

"They are all evaluated," he said. "They don't all require treatment."

Not every cut, scrape and bruise needs to be made public, he added.

"We've been very honest about the animals that are injured," Budd said.

Hindi said he would like to see more details made public about animal injuries. The report should include which animals were hurt, what treatment was given and the result, he said.

A report like that is kept internally at CFD, but it is not made public partly because of contractual obligations, Budd said.

"It really doesn't serve any purpose (to the public)," he added.

He said the committee has considered releasing the report as proof of proper care and honest statistics.

"(But) let's be frank about this," Budd said. "We basically have two to three people who are rendering their opinions on the issue, and I don't know that the time (and) the manpower to release all of those numbers to satisfy one individual and his friends is something that we find a good use of our time."

As for the several horses that were injured this year, Budd said the committee is evaluating and may be making changes to prevent harm next year.

But, he added, the detailed injury report "isn't going to be made public."

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