The Rodeo is believed to date from around 1870 in the USA. The events are seen by many as being a fair test of human skill and courage over the wild untamed beasts. As is often the case where animals are being used for entertainment, appearances are extremely deceptive and the motive is greed, with over $40,000 going to the first place winner.
Rodeo events include calf roping, steer wrestling, bareback horse and bull riding, saddle bronc riding, steer roping, and barrel racing. The animals used in these events are captive animals that have been badly treated to make them mistrustful of humans. They are physically abused and provoked into displaying wild behaviours. Cows and horses are often prodded with an electric prod while in the chute to rile them, causing intense pain to the animals, whilst straps are tightly clinched around their abdomens, causing them to buck to try to stop the pain. Regulations allow animals to be confined for up to 24 hours with no food or water.
The late Dr. C.G. Haber, a veterinarian who spent 30 years as a federal meat inspector, worked in slaughterhouses and saw many animals discarded from rodeos and sold for slaughter. He described the animals as being so extensively bruised that the only areas in which their skin was attached to their flesh were the head, neck, legs, and belly. He described seeing animals “with 6–8 ribs broken from the spine, and at times puncturing the lungs.” Haber saw animals with “as much as 2–3 gallons of free blood accumulated under the detached skin.” These injuries resulted when animals were thrown in calf-roping events and when people jumped on them from the backs of horses during steer wrestling.
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