2019 Calgary Stampede ties as 2nd deadliest year for chuckwagon horses

Total animal deaths at rodeo and chuckwagon races have topped 100 since 1986

Chuckwagon driver Chad Harden was disqualified from the Calgary Stampede after causing an accident on July 11, 2019, that led to a horse being put down. Chuckwagon horses make up more than two-thirds of the animal deaths at the Stampede. (CBC Sports)
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The 2019 Calgary Stampede is now tied for second place as the deadliest year for chuckwagon horses in more than three decades — with the total tally of animal deaths surpassing 100.

Three horses had to be put down at Sunday night’s chuckwagon races, as the 10-day Stampede wrapped.

The latest deaths bring the total number of animals that have died during the rodeo and chuckwagon races at the Stampede since 1986 — when the most detailed records are available — to 102.

The Calgary Stampede declined requests to provide the organization’s own details on deaths through the years.

The most complete records available publicly are from the Vancouver Humane Society, which has added up the tally since 1986 using data from the Calgary Humane Society and media reports.

CBC News validated the numbers wherever possible.

In total over the 10-day event in 2019, six chuckwagon horses died — four of them from the same driver’s team.

That gives it the unfortunate honour of tying with 2010 as having the second highest toll on chuckwagon horses. Chuckwagon horses make up more than two-thirds of the animal deaths at the Stampede.

The top of the list is 1986, when 12 horses died.

Two humans have also died in the competition since 1986: outrider Eugene Jackson in 1996 and wagon driver Bill McEwen in 1999. Both died of head injuries.

Here’s an overall roundup of animal deaths at the Stampede since 1986:

The Vancouver Humane Society says the total tally includes:

  • 72 chuckwagon horses.
  • Nine calves.
  • Five steers.
  • Four bucking horses.
  • One wild ride horse.
  • One show horse.
  • One bull.

Outside of the Stampede itself, nine horses died in 2005 while being herded over a bridge on their way to the grounds.

The latest deaths prompted renewed calls from animal rights advocates and others for the Stampede to end chuckwagon races and the rodeo.

This graph tallies animal deaths, by year, at the Stampede. Use the drop-down menu to see the data by animal type:

The Calgary Stampede has launched a review in response to Sunday’s deaths. Last week, a chuckwagon driver who caused an accident that led to a horse being put down was fined $10,000 and banned from competing at future Stampedes.

The Stampede says it has made many changes over the years to increase the safety of animals and humans.

The Stampede’s roots can be traced to 1886, when the Calgary and District Agricultural Society held its first fair.

The  2019 Calgary Stampede ran July 5-July 14.

A tarp covers the scene of the accident that led to three horses being euthanized after a chuckwagon race at the Calgary Stampede on June 14, 2019. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

Rancher fears for 30 horses left behind near Telegraph Creek as fire rages on

The Alkali Lake and South Stikine River fires have merged, now engulfing almost 300 square kilometres of northwestern B.C. (B.C. Wildfire Service)

Vernon Marion had two hours to prepare to flee when he got the evacuation order to leave his home in Telegraph Creek, B.C., earlier this week as the Alkali Lake wildfire roared closer.

He ran outside, put some of his belongings in a field he thought would be safe from the fire, and tried to protect them with a tarp and water jugs.

“You don’t think properly when something like that’s happening,” he said.

“If you had to do it all over again you’d probably do it differently.”

Vernon Marion of Telegraph Creek, B.C., is concerned about the 30 horses he had to leave behind when he was evacuated from his home as a wildfire approached. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Neighbours and outfitters have offered to take horse trailers into the area to rescue the animals, but officials told Marion it’s too dangerous.

So now he has to wait and find out what is to become of his ranch and his horses.

“We’ll go down there if we get a break [Friday] and round them up.”

‘We’re resilient’

Yukon Minister of Tourism and member of the Tahltan First Nation Jeanie Dendys was in Telegraph Creek during the evacuation where she and her sister helped people get out of the community.

“Our chief is working non-stop which is what we did during those initial days,” she said.

“There’s so much work to be done, but people are safe and that was what our main focus was.”

Dendys said the Tahltan people are heartbroken over the devastation the wildfire has caused in their region, but she believes the strength of the community will help them overcome the loss.

“We’re resilient,” she said. “The unity that we have among our people will bring us through this.”

Fires merged

Early Thursday, the South Stikine River and Alkali Lake fires merged created a fire covering almost 300 square kilometres.

At a meeting in Dease Lake on Wednesday night, B.C. Wildfire Service incident commander Hugh Murdoch said ground crews and air support are working to protect culturally significant sites and buildings in the area.

From left, Tony Falcao of the B.C. Wildfire Service, Chief Rick McLean of the Tahltan Nation and Hugh Murdoch of the B.C. Wildfire Service update the public on the fire situation on August 8, 2018. (Phillipe Morin/CBC)

“The type of efforts that we’ve been putting forward will continue,” Murdoch said.

A cold front is expected to pass through the area in coming days, and crews are preparing for a potential increase in wind and shift in its direction.

NEARLY 200 HORSES FOUND DEAD AMID SOUTHWEST DROUGHT IN ARIZONA

http://www.newson6.com/story/38123686/nearly-200-horses-found-dead-amid-southwest-drought-in-arizona

 May 06, 2018 11:57 AM PDT Updated: May 06, 2018 11:57 AM PDT

This Thursday, May 3, 2018 photo shows dozens of horse carcasses lying in a dry watering near Cameron, Ariz.
CAMERON, Arizona –Off a northern Arizona highway surrounded by pastel-colored desert is one of the starkest examples of drought’s grip on the American Southwest:  Nearly 200 dead horses surrounded by cracked earth, swirling dust, and a ribbon of water that couldn’t quench their thirst.  Flesh exposed and in various stages of decomposition, the carcasses form a circle around a dry watering hole sunken in the landscape, CBS affiliate KPHO reports.

It’s clear this isn’t the first time the animals have struggled.  Skeletal remains are scattered on the fringes and in an adjacent ravine.

It’s a symptom of a burgeoning wild horse population and the scarcity of water on the western edge of the Navajo Nation following a dry winter and dismal spring runoff.

According to the Navajo Nation, 191 horses died of natural causes.

“These animals were searching for water to stay alive.  In the process, they unfortunately burrowed themselves into the mud and couldn’t escape because they were so weak,” Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez said in a statement on Thursday.

A grim photo posted by the Navajo Nation shows the horses, many of them in mud up to their thighs and even their necks.

Conditions aren’t forecast to improve anytime soon, and tribal officials suspect other animals have died with not enough to eat or drink.

“One of the things we do is we picture the worst-case scenario when we got out there,” said Harlan Cleveland of the tribe’s Department of Emergency Management.  “I did smell the decomposition and the bodies starting to smell, the carcasses.  But I didn’t realize until I looked down from the berm and saw all those horses down there.”

Here, drought doesn’t manifest in having to shut down swimming pools or let lawns go dry.

This rural community does not have its own potable water source.  Those who have running water in their homes get it from a well, piped from over 30 miles (48.2 kilometers) away.  Most haul water, carrying large plastic tanks in the beds of their pickup trucks.  The groundwater is brackish and recommended for livestock only, but the two storage tanks closest to the watering hole no longer function.

Animals were accustomed to finding relief at the stock pond where the horses died, but locals say the pool of water beneath the decades-old earthen dam has dried up more quickly each year. Families have been downsizing their herds because they can’t rely on the vegetation or watering holes.  Some have hauled water and left it in troughs for animals.

Charlie Smith Jr. climbed the small berm overlooking the watering hole three weeks ago in search of his cattle.  At the time, he counted 29 dead horses and a cow that wasn’t his stranded at the edge looking up at him.

“It’s very emotional,” he said, standing beside his truck loaded with hay.  “I kept calling my sister saying, ‘this is bad.’  It just hits you.  You tear up.  You know you don’t have the capability to save them.”

Tribal officials counted 118 dead horses and two cows this week, but that tally doesn’t account for any carcasses that might have been pushed deeper into the mud by the other struggling animals, or for skeletal remains.

Tribal officials estimate tens of thousands of feral horses on the Navajo Nation, the country’s largest reservation spanning 27,000 square miles (69,929.679 square kilometers) in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico.  Some communities have called for roundups, but often they’re halted with public outcry tied to Navajo spiritual beliefs about the animals and the role they play in prayers and ceremonies.

When Emmett Kerley was a teenager in the late 1970s in Gray Mountain, the community controlled horse populations by castrating the smaller ones, he said.  Navajo culture taught that young men should train horses and tame them, part of building endurance, a strong work ethic and managing livestock, he said.

“There were no feral horses back then, but then the society changed in greater America but on Navajo, on the reservation as well,” he said.

Staff with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs put up a barbed wire fence around the watering hole where horses laid overlapping one another.

Federal and tribal workers this week used heavy equipment to bring horses found on the outskirts closer to the others.  Hydrated lime was spread over the site to aid decomposition and to ward off scavengers.  Friday’s work focused on collapsing the berm and burying the animals on site.

Eventually, the tribe will redirect any water that flowed into that watering hole into a safer area.

“Knock on wood, God forbid, that we have that situation anywhere else within the reservation,” Cleveland said.  “This will lay the foundation for how we respond to this.”

For all the devastation, there was a bright spot.  As Cleveland surveyed ground earlier this week determining how best to respond to the deaths, he saw a foal – no more than four weeks old – moving next to what was assumed to be its mother.

Tribal officials carried it to a truck and used a long-sleeved, white T-shirt to keep it warm for the trip to a veterinary clinic 45 minutes away.  They named her Grace.

Erin Hisrich, who owns the clinic, said Grace was severely dehydrated and will need to have her blood-sugar stabilized and kidneys functioning before she could be adopted.  On Thursday, the brown foal with a long patch of white hair on its face splashed in a tub of water and cozied up to visitors.

“In the end, that made my day responding to this emergency and this chaotic scene,” Cleveland said.  “At least this baby foal made it out.”

Casualties of the Vanishing West

Sunday, 27 December 2015
Written by 
Sonia Luokkala

By Sonia Luokkala, Earth Island Journal

Chief, a Kiger mustang born in the remote wilderness of Utah, lives with 400 other rescued wild horses and burros in a 1,500 acre sanctuary, hundreds of miles from his original home. Years ago the stallion was captured in a round up led by the Bureau of Land Management. After a long helicopter chase, he ended up in a government-run holding facility for years before being adopted by Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc, CA. Not all horses rounded up by the BLM are as lucky.

Over the past four decades the BLM has eradicated or moved to holding facilities more than 70 percent of the country’s wild horse population.Over the past four decades the BLM has eradicated or moved to holding facilities more than 70 percent of the country’s wild horse population. (Photo: Bureau of Land Management – Utah)

The majority of captured equines remain stuck for years, if not for the rest of their lives, in cramped holding facilities that are quickly running out of space. As of July 2015 the facilities held 47,000 wild horses, and the BLM’s holding capacity is set at 50,929. Yet the agency is planning to remove another 2,739 wild horses and burros this year at a taxpayer cost of $78 million.

An example of an emergency holding facility for excess mustangs is a cattle feedlot in Scott City, Kansas. In 2014, a BLM contractor leased the feedlot, owned by Beef Belt LLC, to hold 1,900 mares. The horses were transported from pasture to corrals designed for fattening up cattle. Within the first few weeks of their arrival, at least 75 mares died. Mortality reports acquired from the BLM through the Freedom of Information Act show that as of June 2015, 143 more horses had died. The facility is closed to the public.

More: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/34182-casualties-of-the-vanishing-west

Petition: Sign for Wyoming Mustangs!

Scene from, Wyoming Tourism Video

The State of Wyoming uses images of wild horses to promote itself as a place where the untamed and wild spirit of the American West still lives. Yet wild horses in Wyoming are hanging on by a thread, with just 2,500 left in the entire state.

The BLM Wyoming Resource Advisory Council (RAC) is meeting in Laramie, Wyoming on February 2-4, 2015, This citizen advisory board has within its jurisdiction all of Wyoming’s 16 wild horse Herd Management Areas. AWHPC is submitting comments, asking for the RAC’s support for humane reform of the BLM wild horse program and fairer treatment for Wyoming’s last remaining mustangs.

Sign Petition here: http://act.wildhorsepreservation.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=19230

FoA’s Civil Disobedience Action for Wild Horses

Wild Horse Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Wild Horse Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Monday, Sept 22, 10:30 a.m. Rock Springs, Wyoming-Press Advised to Call for Embargoed Details

In Wyoming 179 wild horses have been ripped from their families and rounded up this week-three have died as a result – due to the Bureau of Land Management’s criminal reign of terror, and hundreds more are set to be brutally removed off the land and imprisoned in barren holding facilities where many are then “adopted” and end up in slaughterhouses. Friends of Animals has had enough of the agency stealing horses from public lands and will organize a protest/civil disobedience action 10:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 22, in Rock Springs at a location to be disclosed to media upon request.

Edita Birnkrant, Friends of Animals’ Campaign Director says, “We refuse to allow the BLM to operate without disruption while these sadistic roundups are occurring, so we’re showing up at a location we will disclose early Monday morning to loudly protest and do civil disobedience actions that will make it impossible for BLM staff to ignore. Our actions and resistance will represent the millions of Americans disgusted at the obscene actions the BLM is committing against wild horses, all to benefit cattle ranchers who want all wild horses dead. We will have a bullhorn, lots of surprises in store for the BLM employees committing crimes against wild horses. We’re taking our outrage to the scene of these crimes and to those directly responsible-the BLM.”

This week also marked the deadline for when U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had to respond to Friends of Animals’ petition to list North American wild horses on public lands as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the best hope for the survival of wild horses in Wyoming and other states since the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act (WHBA), which was passed in 1971, has failed to protect our wild horses.

“In light of BLM’s intention to virtually wipe-out Wyoming’s remaining wild horse population, the time is now for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to respond to our petition to place these animals on the list of endangered or threatened species,” said FoA’s Wildlife Law Program Director Michael Harris.

“With one agency-the BLM-already failing the horses, we ask USFWS to treat the situation in Wyoming as an emergency requiring immediate action. And given the strong evidence that wild horses are a distinct population of a reintroduced North American native species, they clearly deserve our protection.”

While such crimes have been going on for years, the roundups in Wyoming are particularly egregious as they will eliminate almost all wild horses from Wyoming. The BLM intends to round up 800 horses from the Checkerboard Herd Management Area in Wyoming after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied an emergency motion<http://www.thecloudfoundation.org/images/pdf/Wy9.10.14DecisionDenyingEmergencyMotionPendingAppeal.pdf> by wild horse advocates to stop the roundups.

“The BLM and cattle and sheep ranchers are responsible for the crimes currently being committed against wild horses,” said Birnkrant. “The BLM has renounced its duty to protect wild horses and burros in favor of acting solely in the interests of those whose hatred and intolerance of wild horses fuels the roundups-ranchers.

“The heartless roundups occurring right now in Wyoming are ripping families of wild horses apart, terrorizing them with helicopter chases, separating foals from their mothers and imprisoning them in squalid holding facilities where their fates are unknown and where horses can be sent to slaughterhouses,” Birnkrant said. “If FoA doesn’t get a timely response to our Endangered Species Act petition from Sally Jewell, we will immediately pursue our legal options in court. There is no more time left for America’s wild horses.”

For more details about the protest, call Edita Birnkrant at 917.940.2725 or email Edita@friendsofanimals.org<mailto:Edita@friendsofanimals.org>.

Groups seek protection for North American wild horses under Endangered Species Act

 
We’re pleased to announce that after decades of torment, round-ups, and killing at the hands of the Bureau of Land Management, Friends of Animals and The Cloud Foundation have petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list North American wild horses on all U.S. federal public lands endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Read more about this groundbreaking initiative on our website and you can also read the full petition here.

Beloved pets also lost, displaced by mudslide

[Only now, after the human death toll has been tallied up, do we hear about the no-human casualties of the Oso slide.]

imagesCALYDLG2

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Beloved-pets-also-lost-displaced-by-mudslide-253195501.html

By MANUEL VALDES, Associated Press Published: Mar 31, 2014
DARRINGTON, Wash. (AP) – After a rescue worker called her animal clinic saying dogs had been extracted from the destruction left behind by a massive mudslide, veterinary assistant Cassna Wemple and her colleagues raced to this small Washington town near the debris field.

They found one of the dogs at the fire station among a flurry of rescue workers and townspeople. Bonnie, an Australian shepherd, was wrapped in a comforter. She was muddy and had a broken leg in a splint. One of Bonnie’s owners had just died in the slide. The other had been pulled out.

“She was just very much in shock,” Wemple said.

In this rural community north of Seattle, Wemple said it’s common for residents to have plenty of animals, including pigs, horses, rabbits, chickens, dogs and cats. When the deadly slide struck March 22, beloved pets and livestock also perished.

The full number of pets and livestock killed may never be known. Authorities also don’t have a clear number of how many pets are missing or displaced by the slide, incident spokespeople have said. There are at least 37 horses displaced and at least 10 dogs that were missing, according to different animal services helping the recovery efforts.

“To know that their animals are lost and may or may not be found. It’s heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking for the people and the animals,” said Dee Cordell of the Everett Animal Services.

Wemple said rescue workers could hear horses crying from the debris hours after the slide, but because of the unsafe conditions, rescuers couldn’t go in.

For those animals that survived, the community and outsiders have rallied in support with donations. Bag after bag of food for dogs, cats and chickens have filled up the rodeo grounds outside Darrington, which are serving as a makeshift shelter. At last count, it totaled nearly 45,000 pounds. On Saturday alone, 27 tons of donated food from Purina arrived.

Lilianna Andrews’s seven horses are now at the rodeo grounds. Their house wasn’t buried in the mud, but the displaced earth formed a dam, backing up the Stillaguamish River into a lake that rose waist-high in the house and as high as 10 feet in the barn.

“We got them out before they got any water on them,” the 13-year-old said after helping unload hay at the rodeo grounds on Saturday. “But they would have drowned. So we just had to evacuate them from the water, and they’ve been staying here ever since.”

The Andrews were in Seattle when a friend called to check on their whereabouts. When they realized it wasn’t just a small mudslide blocking the road, they hurried home. Their dog, cats and chickens are fine too, Andrews said, although they haven’t been able to get in to feed the chickens.

Volunteers are also tending to 20 horses that belonged to Summer Raffo, a farrier who died in the slide.

Wemple’s clinic, Chuckanut Valley Veterinary, treated three dogs hurt from the slide. One of those dogs, named Blue, had to have one of his legs amputated last week. His owner is still hospitalized. The owner’s daughter has visited the dog daily.

“He’ll be happier in the long run. No more pain in that leg,” Wemple said.

Bonnie’s owner was Linda McPherson, a retired librarian. She was in her living room reading newspapers with her husband, Gary “Mac” McPherson, when the slide hit. She died. He lived. Bonnie has been kept at the clinic for rehabilitation. At night, one of the staffers takes her home.

A memorial is planned for next week for Linda McPherson. Wemple said the staffer will bring the Australian shepherd to the memorial for a reunion with her surviving owner.

___

Associated Press writer Jonathan J. Cooper contributed to this report.

Timely Quotes on Dog and God and Death and Shit

I watched the movie The Unbearable Lightness of Being last night, hoping it included this classic quote found in the original novel by Milan Kundera…

“True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which is deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.”   

Unfortunately, the film version, while still a great flick throughout its 3-hour running time, did not make room for that or these other timely quotes (also found in the book) about dog and god and death and shit, which (aside from shit) have been the topics of some of my recent posts (my emphasis add in bold)…

“Dogs do not have many advantages over people, but one of them is extremely important: euthanasia is not forbidden by law in their case; animals have the right to a merciful death.”

“The very beginning of Genesis tells us that God created man in order to give him dominion over fish and fowl and all creatures. Of course, Genesis was written by a man, not a horse. There is no certainty that God actually did grant man dominion over other creatures. What seems more likely, in fact, is that man invented God to sanctify the dominion that he had usurped for himself over the cow and the horse.”

“…Nietzsche leaving his hotel in Turin. Seeing a horse and a coachman beating it with a whip, Nietzsche went up to the horse and, before the coachman’s very eyes, put his arms around the horse’s neck and burst into tears.

“That took place in 1889, when Nietzsche, too, had removed himself from the world of people. In other words, it was at the time when his mental illness had just erupted. But for that very reason I feel his gesture has broad implications: Nietzsche was trying to apologize to the horse of Descartes. His lunacy (that is, his final break with mankind) began at the very moment he burst into tears over the horse.”

“Spontaneously, without any theological training, I, a child, grasped the incompatibility of God and shit…either man was created in God’s image – and has intestines! – or God lacks intestines and man is not like him.

“The ancient Gnostics felt as I did at the age of five. In the second century, the Great Gnostic master Valentinus resolved the damnable dilemma by claiming that Jesus “ate and drank, but did not defecate.

Shit is a more onerous theological problem than is evil. Since God gave man freedom, we can, if need be, accept the idea that He is not responsible for man’s crimes. The responsibility for shit, however, rests entirely with Him, the creator of man.”

“The river flowed from century to century, and human affairs play themselves out on its banks. Play themselves out to be forgotten the next day, while the river flows on.” ―  Milan KunderaThe Unbearable Lightness of Being

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