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May 15, 2018 > The last straw

The last straw

The Rowell Ranch Association rodeo is coming up and once again it will include Wild Cow Milking and Mutton Busting, cruel events that are neither traditional rodeo nor PRCA required events and should be banned. (Inquiring minds can see examples on Youtube).

For many years animal advocates have attempted to convince the HARD Board to update their rodeo animal welfare policy, to reflect the best practices available, ones recommended by unbiased vets, humane societies, other animal experts, and required in New Zealand and the UK. My exhaustive research confirmed that the animal advocates are right: HARDÕs rodeo animal welfare policy is sorely outdated.
Unfortunately, the rodeo cowboys donÕt believe in compromise and, like climate change deniers, refuse to let modern science, reason and common sense to get in their way. Worse yet, IÕve noted many instances where they have lied and bullied the HARD board and staff, and made numerous nonsensical comments, showing their disregard for animal welfare.

Still, the last straw for me took place on March 1st during a special board meeting, when the cowboysÕ attorney intimated that if the board banned these events, they would consider suing the District. While a lawsuit would have gone nowhere since the Association has no grounds to sue HARD, what disturbs me is their audacity in making such a threat, considering how tremendously supportive HARD has been to the rodeo cowboys: HARD purchased the facility for them, despite its limited value to the District (unreliable water source, limited amenities, remote location); HARD doesnÕt charge the Association for use of the facility for their two rodeos; HARD has waived fees for their other rodeo-related events; HARD allows hard liquor to be sold on the Rodeo grounds, but nowhere else in the District; and HARD provides free labor and materials for the rodeos and grounds, costing the District about $20k a year. No other organization in the District receives this level of support from HARD.

Considering rodeoÕs small audience, the fact that many attendees and rodeo performers are from out of the District, and the headaches this contracted event gives the District, I think HARD and the taxpayers have been extremely generous and patient with the cowboys, and they certainly donÕt deserve to be threatened with a law suit because HARD might choose to modernize their animal welfare policy, reducing just a tad, the level of cruelty that takes place on its own property.

Minane Jameson
HARD Board Member

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