Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Fri, Sept. 20

Rodeos are extreme cruelty to animals

The rodeo is very popular, especially in Western states. Millions of people over the years flock to rodeos, cheering and applauding the actions of their heroes in the arenas, completely unconcerned about the fact that the contests that involve men against the animals, are in truth, a form of cruelty to animals.

The horses and bulls are brought to the rodeo in as wild a state as possible so that when a rider is on their back, they buck, whirl and charge just as they would in the wild, where if attacked by a wild animal, they would do these things to save their life. To these animals, the rider is no different than, let's say, a mountain lion that has attacked it. The horses and bulls do not know they are "at the rodeo." They are bucking because "they are afraid" and believe their life is in danger. This is not fun for the animal, and though they may not experience much physical harm, they are suffering emotionally, because they do not understand what is being done to them.

There are those who say, "It is more harmful for the cowboys and girls who are tormenting these animals." This is not true. The performers in rodeos are not there "against their will!" No one is forcing them to participate in this "entertainment event." On the other hand, the animals have no say in the matter and are being forced to allow themselves to be "terrified," so that they will fight to save their lives so that human beings can have some fun.

Calf roping is the most cruel of these events. Here a young calf is taken from its mother's side in the herd, taken to a stall in unfamiliar surroundings, then, when it is "show time," these docile young animals are placed in a pen where loud music and yelling is going on, and because it doesn't understand what is happening, "it is terrified" and its instinct is to preserve its life. When the gate is opened, the calf is running, not for the fun of it, but to save its life. Running as fast as it can, it is overtaken by a human being on horseback who throws a rope around the calf's neck and yanks the calf off of its feet to fall on the ground.

The calf, meanwhile, is trying to struggle to its feet, but, the hero runs to the calf, grabs all four feet and throws the calf back down onto the ground and then grabs the calf's back feet and heroically ties the feet together so that this poor defenseless animal cannot get away. The audience meanwhile is standing and cheering, and the cowboy has the thrill of overpowering this baby animal and being treated with great admiration and glory. What kind of people are entertained by cruelty of any kind?

And what about the mothers of these calves? Here their baby is taken away. Do the heroes and their audiences really believe the mother cow does not feel the loss or grieve for its missing calf? Cows don't hurt anyone. They are not aggressive animals, and they help to feed the very people who are treating them so cruelly. They provide the world with milk and cheese and other dairy products, which I am sure most people who love rodeos depend on daily.

It is very easy to know if these rodeo contests are right or wrong - just simply put the human being in place of the animals. The people who provide these shows could go to the homes of the rodeo heroes who have small children and ask the parents to give their, let's say, 3-year-old children to take part in the rodeo. They would then put the children in pens, which when opened, they would be chased after by some stranger, roped by the neck, thrown to the ground and tied up. Wouldn't this be fun?

Rodeos make a lot of money for those who use cruelty to animals as a way to get rich by putting on shows that appeal to the lowness of the people in the audience.

Barbara Stevens

Kingman

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