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March 7, 2017 > Letter to the Editor: Rowell Rodeo includes abusive events

Letter to the Editor: Rowell Rodeo includes abusive events

The annual May Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Castro Valley once boasted one of the more progressive animal welfare policies in the country. Today, not so much. The ranch is owned and operated by the Hayward Area Rec & Park District (HARD). Two abusive (and non-sanctioned) events need to be dropped from the rodeo program: the "wild cow milking contest" and the children's "mutton busting" event.

In the former, two cowboys manhandle a mother cow into submission and attempt to milk a few drops into a bottle. At the 2014 rodeo a panicky cow jumped the fence and broke her neck, leaving an orphaned calf. (See YouTube videos.)

In the "mutton busting" event, children ages four-to-seven are coerced into riding terrified sheep, putting all at risk, the kids often in tears.

What a terrible message to send to impressionable youngsters about the proper treatment of animals! This event has been banned in New Zealand, per the recommendation of the NZ Veterinary Association, which deemed the sheep not built to carry the weight. (Again, see YouTube videos.)

How you can help: A HARD How You Can Help subcommittee (board members Minane Jameson and Lou Andrade) will consider these issues at a public hearing on Wednesday, March 22 at 7 p.m. at the HARD office, 1099 E Street, Hayward. The public is urged to attend.

Send support letters to above address, or email Paul McCreary, General Manager, and the Board of Directors via email at

Eric Mills, coordinator
Action for Animals

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