Horse deaths in Stampede highlight abuse inherent in rodeos, says Canadian
Federation of Humane Societies

OTTAWA, July 14 /CNW Telbec/ - Following the death of four horses during Calgary Stampede events, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) is speaking out against the cruelty inherent in rodeos held across Canada. How many more animals will die this year?

"While the death of 4 horses in 2 days has raised eyebrows, the sad reality is this is par for the course for the Stampede," says Shelagh MacDonald, program director of the CFHS. "Typically, several animals die at the Stampede every year while being harassed, agitated and driven to their limit for mere entertainment."

Horses, calves, steers and other animals are subjected to fear, pain and discomfort during rodeo events to elicit behaviours such as running and bucking. According to the Vancouver Humane Society, nearly 50 chuckwagon horses have been killed at the Stampede since 1986, mainly due to crash injuries and stress-induced heart attacks.

"This is probably the most monitored rodeo in Canada," says MacDonald. "If the Calgary Stampede can't keep animals from being killed during its events, what does this say about the dozens of other rodeos across the country?" Well over 50 rodeos are held across Canada each year.

"It is time to end the archaic 'man against beast' aspect of steer wrestling, calf roping, bronc and bull riding," says Steve Carroll, CEO of the CFHS. "Those animals deserve more respect than that."

The CFHS applauds the work of the Calgary Humane Society, a stakeholder in the drive to make the Calgary Stampede a more humane event. That organization has been instrumental in achieving some animal welfare improvements, such as new rules for steer wrestling that will reduce the risk of spinal injury to steers. The CFHS supports this and all other changes that can be made to reduce the pain, distress and risk of death to animals used in rodeos.

"Ultimately, there is no place for such spectacles in a society that values animal welfare," says Carroll. "In a humane culture, watching someone agitate and injure animals would not be considered a form of entertainment. It would not be subsidized with Canadian taxpayer dollars."

The federal government funded four different rodeo-related events this year as part of a tourism promotion program, with $1 million going to the Calgary Stampede. The Stampede also receives approximately $10 million from the Alberta government each year.

About the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

Since 1957, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies has worked to improve conditions for animals across the country. With member societies across Canada committed to promoting the humane treatment of animals, CFHS is the national voice of animal welfare. To learn more, visit


For further information: For further information: Lori Waller, Communications Coordinator, 1-888-678-2347 ext. 12; Shelagh MacDonald, Program Director, 1-888-678-2347 ext. 21

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