Opinion: Time to stop inhumane and abusive rodeo events


The Alameda County Board of Supervisors met last month to consider banning rodeo events that are inhumane and overtly abusive to animals. Three key events were considered for the ban but, despite valid arguments from experts, the board allowed two of them to continue.

As a veterinarian practicing in California for 40 years, I have training and experience in animal anatomy, physiology and behavior. I have subscribed to American Veterinary Medical Association principles that animals should be cared for in ways that minimize fear, pain, stress and suffering.

I think most people agree with these principles. If I were to violate them—by intentionally causing pain or making an animal fearful—I’d probably lose my license to practice. And justifiably so, especially if I did it as entertainment (though I must question how hurting an animal or making it run in fear for its life can be entertaining).

But that’s exactly what happens during events at locally held rodeos, events that have been officially sanctioned by our elected officials. Like Mutton Busting, Wild Cow Milking and Goat Tying.

In Mutton Busting, children (usually ages 4-7) attempt to ride sheep in the same way that adult contestants ride bucking broncos. The term “busting” is used even though sheep are neither wild nor animals usually ridden in the first place.

And that’s where the abuse factor comes in: These are not animals with bodies shaped for being ridden. So they are more likely to be injured and distressed by having a child riding them. Fortunately, the county board decided this event was sufficiently abusive that it should be banned. Regrettably, not so for the other abusive events.

In a Wild Cow Milking contest, the animal suffers stress and fear after being chased around a noisy arena, harassed by two “cowboys” trying to rope her, drag her, then grab …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

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