Rodeos Aren’t Entertaining To Cattle

To The Reader’s Forum:

In just a couple of weeks, the Gerry Rodeo will be “celebrating” 70 years in business. That is 70 years of spurs, ropes, flank straps – for the purpose of “entertainment” and fundraising.

I’m not sure which “act” I find most repulsive, but the roping of calves is at the top of the list. If someone thought up an entertainment act to continually chase and frighten puppies, the community would be up in arms. Calves are babies. Is it reasonable and intelligent to think that these babies (and other animals used for practice) experience fear and can get injured? They are traveling at high rates of speed when their necks are then suddenly and violently jerked at the end of the “cowboys'” ropes, and their bodies are thrown to the ground. The Vancouver Humane Society is campaigning against calf roping in Canada, and readers can find more information at: http://www.vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca/campaigns/rodeos/

It is important to remember, too, that most of these animals don’t endure a couple of evenings of “rodeoing” and then get turned out to pasture to rest. They are loaded up and hauled from town to town, from event to event for as long as they are “useful.”

“Rawhide” is a donkey whose story was told on a television program that featured a donkey rescue group. He received his name for the wounds on his legs that he was suffering from when he arrived at the rescue. Having been used repeatedly by “cowboys” for roping practice, the skin on his legs had been burned off by the ropes, and his legs were open and raw.

The ones who rescued Rawhide – an insignificant donkey who could not help himself – are the real heroes. We need to take the time to think about what message we want children to receive from the various kinds of entertainment they are exposed to.

Christine Wigren

Jamestown