Should the Calgary Stampede ban animal events?

Calgary Stampede events, like steer wrestling, don’t put the animals first, says a spokesperson with the Vancouver Humane Society. (Todd Korol/Reuters)

Should the Calgary Stampede ban animal events?

Some rodeo events are a form of animal abuse, critic says

An animal activist is calling on veterinarians to stop supporting the Calgary Stampede.

Those who put on cowboy hats and work at the annual rodeo event are “turning a blind eye to animal abuse,” said Peter Fricker, communications director for the Vancouver Humane Society.

In an opinion piece for CBC News, Fricker said some of the activities at the Stampede cause the animals involved distress and discomfort.

Events like calf roping and steer wrestling also put them at risk of getting hurt, he said.

The Calgary Stampede is an event organized each year by a not-for-profit group — and put on with the help of thousands of volunteers — as a way to preserve and celebrate “western heritage, cultures and community spirit,” its website says.

That includes a number of traditional rodeo events.

Man holds rope in his mouth while he wrangles a calf.

Some critics say rodeo events like calf roping put the animals at risk of getting hurt. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

What do the vets say?

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is against activities that cause suffering to animals that would otherwise be avoidable, president Terri Chotowetz said in an email.

She said her group supports those veterinarians who are working to “safeguard animal welfare” at the Stampede, she said.

It’s not up to the CVMA to set the laws around how animals are used in sport or entertainment, Chotowetz said, but she encourages governments to keep working to improve the rules.

Man in cowboy hat holds cow by the horns.

A note on the Calgary Stampede website says event organizers are committed to treating the animals with respect and care. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

What does the Stampede say?

The Calgary Stampede has one of the “most comprehensive animal care programs in North America,” said spokesperson Kristina Barnes, when asked to comment.

Organizers are constantly working with veterinarians in order to improve their practices, she said in an email.

They’re also careful to follow provincial and national regulations around the use of animals.

Now it’s your turn to weigh in.

Your thoughts
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2 thoughts on “Should the Calgary Stampede ban animal events?

  1. Yeah, the cowboy culture of competitive steer wrestling and calf roping needs to be abolished at rodeos……

  2. This cruelty needs to be abolished and our laws need to reflect it. It has no place in a society that is seeking peace.

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