When someone hears the word cowboy they might picture the frontier days when men would lead their cattle for long distances and have to learn practical skills like roping to manage the herd. Today’s rodeos are a far cry from the old west, and everyone should take a closer look before they think about attending one.
Most people don’t understand that the majority of the animals used in rodeos such as bulls, broncos, steers, and calves are completely domesticated. (Besides the fact that every single rodeo will boast it has the wildest and meanest animals.) Since these animals are domesticated and not naturally aggressive, their wild behavior at the events is induced. Some animals have their tails twisted, while others receive shocks from electric prods. Rodeo participants say broncos will naturally buck, but this is a false statement. The horse only bucks in a rodeo because they tighten the “flank strap” that sits just below the rib cage. This pinches the horses abdomen, causing them to buck to try to remove it.
Most rodeos feature a calf roping event where “cowboys” show their ability to rope and tie up the baby calves in the shortest amount of time. These calves are usually no older than four to five months old. They are kept behind a gate where they have their ears and tails twisted by handlers until they are released. Racing out of the gate to escape the abuse, a “cowboy” will lasso the calves around their neck often snapping their heads back as they come to an abrupt stop. Participants then slam the babies to the ground and tie all four legs together. ESPN won’t even show this part of the calf roping event when it’s broadcasting a rodeo, it will always cut away before the calf is slammed to the ground.
Since these event are so rough on the animals, they are often suffer very serious injuries such as broken bones, fractured horns, torn ligaments, internal bleeding, and even severed spinal cords and tracheas. There are medics on site for humans, but Rhode Island is the only state that requires a veterinarian on site. This means most severely injured animals die due to lack of medical attention, and are then sold to be slaughtered for human consumption. So think twice before attending this cruel event, and avoid supporting animal cruelty simply for entertainment and prize money.
What you can do:
- Ask your lawmakers to enact stricter laws on rodeos that come to your area.
- Educate others of the cruelties involved in rodeos.
- Hold a ( peaceful) demonstration outside of a rodeo to make attendees aware of the brutality that goes on at the events.