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May 8, 2018 > Letter to the Editor: Rodeo: Just say no!

Letter to the Editor: Rodeo: Just say no!

Rodeo season is upon us, yet we seem on the brink of a sea change regarding the use/abuse of animals in "entertainment": e.g., recent bans on orca shows at SeaWorld; elephant bullhook bans; the demise of the Ringling Bros. Circus. Only this week, a 600pp study in Montreal deemed rodeos to be both inhumane and a violation of anti-cruelty laws. Can the U.S. be far behind? For most rodeo animals--horses and bulls included--rodeo is merely a detour en route to the slaughterhouse.

Nor is rodeo a true sport. "Sport" denotes a competition between willing, evenly-matched participants. Rodeo does not qualify. Much of rodeo is bogus from the git-go. Real working cowboys never routinely rode bulls, or wrestled steers, or rode bareback, or practiced calf roping (babies!) as a timed event. Nor did they put flank straps on the animals, nor work them over with painful "hotshots" in the holding chutes. Some "sport"!

Truth be told, rodeo is a macho exercise in domination, closely related to the sexual harassment stories (and worse) of women now swamping the media. It needs to stop. As Gandhi famously wrote, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

Eric Mills
Action for Animals

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