The Vancouver Humane Society is asking for a ban of rodeo events in Williams Lake following the 90th Annual Stampede.
Communications Director, Peter Fricker says they’ve been campaigning against rodeo for more than 10 years.
He says after sending a photographer to the Stampede there were a number of events that concerned them including calf roping and steer wrestling.
“In the case of calf roping, we’re talking about three month old animals being chased, roped to a sudden halt, picked up, and thrown to the ground before being tied up. That obviously causes the animal a great deal of distress; it’s subjecting them to fear, distress, and pain, and what’s worst about it, it’s all for the sake of entertainment.”
Fricker says they’ve had a campaign running at the Calgary Stampede since 2008, and have protested at rodeos in the lower mainland including the Luxton Rodeo and the Abbotsford Rodeo which have been cancelled within the last 2 years.
He says rodeos can be a success without having such “cruel” events and points to the Cloverdale Rodeo which agreed to drop 4 of their key events (steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, and wild cow milking) back in 2007.
“When they did that, there was a lot of concern in the rodeo community that that was going to the end of the Cloverdale fair and it was going to be a disaster and so on, but in fact since then the fair has been extremely successful, attendance has held up, they’ve had record crowds, because in fact what people really want is family entertainment that everyone can enjoy and to try and get rid of the cruelty.”
The Society is asking that individuals email Mayor Walt Cobb expressing their concerns and to ban such events.
Cobb says although he has currently received about 12 emailed responses, he does not give them a lot of credibility.
“Everybody has their own opinion and as far as I’m concerned those animals are probably treated a lot better than some of the people in the lower mainland who look after their pets and have them locked up all day so I don’t have an issue with it. I think the animals are well taken care of.”
Cobb says although there are always individuals trying to stop rodeos, he is not concerned adding that they should have done their homework and talked to C-Plus Ranches to see the work that they do and how the animals are really treated.
A national poll according to Fricker, shows that 63% of Canadians are opposed to rodeos, with 66% of B.C residents against it.
The Williams Lake Stampede Association says a vet was on site during the four day event and that no animal athlete injuries were reported.