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Letters to the editor: Rodeo has little to do with ranching, it needs to end 

letter to the editor

In response to your article on rodeo’s inherent cruelties., here are four state bills in need of an author:

1. Amend state rodeo law, Penal Code 596.7, so as to require on-site veterinarians at all CA rodeos and charreadas. The “on-call” vet option is NOT working, and animals are suffering accordingly. Racetracks, horse shows, endurance rides and the PRCA all require on-site veterinary care So should all rodeos and charreadas;.

2. Ban the Mexican charreada’s brutal “steer tailing” event. Outlawed by the Los Angeles Dept. of Animal Regulation in 1976. Outlawed in Alameda County (1993) and Contra Costa County (1994), and the State of Nebraska (2010). Even Cesar Chavez was an outspoken critic;

3. Ban “tie-down” calf roping, allowing “breakaway roping” only. The calves are mere babies, and terrified. Some veterinarians claim the calves are injured EVERY time they are roped, thrown and tied. A FAVORITE QUOTE FROM A PRCA CALF ROPER: “Yeah, I accidentally killed and injured lots of calves when I was learning. I mean, I plain roped their heads off.” Not even the late stock contractor Cotton Rosser was a fan of this event, R.I.P.

4. Ban the rodeo’s cruel non-sanctioned events: “wild cow milking,” children’s “mutton busting,” and all animal “scrambles,” as Alameda County has done.

Rodeo has little to do with ranching; it’s mostly macho hype, an exercise in domination. It needs to end.

Eric Mills
Action for Animals

Rodeo injures and kills animals

Animals should not be injured or killed for entertainment and that is what rodeo is. It bears no resemblance to ranching. I grew up on a cattle ranch in North Dakota and spent eight years as a ranch veterinarian there. My ranch clients did not ride bulls, speed rope calves, or make their expensive horses buck. Rodeo is not an American “tradition”.

As a former bareback bronc rider, pathologist, and large animal veterinarian, I have both the experience and autopsy proof that rodeo injures and kills animals. Dr. Robert Bay from Colorado autopsied roping calves and found hemorrhages, torn muscles, torn ligaments, damage to the trachea, damage to the throat, and damage to the thyroid. These calves never get a chance to heal before they are used again. Meat inspectors including Drs. Haber and Fetzner who processed rodeo animals found broken bones, ruptured internal organs, massive amounts of blood in the abdomen from ruptured blood vessels and damage to the ligamentum nuchae that holds the neck to the rest of the spinal column.

Dr. Haber, also a meat inspection veterinarian, had this to say about the injuries seen in rodeo animals. “Dr. C. G. Haber–a veterinarian with thirty years of experience as a USDA meat inspector–says, “The rodeo folks send their animals to the packing houses where…I have seen cattle so extensively bruised that the only areas in which the skin was attached was the head, neck, legs, and belly. I have seen animals with six to eight ribs broken from the spine and at times puncturing the lungs. I have seen as much as two and three gallons of free blood accumulated under the detached skin.”

Animals and humans share the same pain and fear centers in the brain. The fear center is the amygdala. The pain centers are the pre-frontal cortex and the hypothalamus. Animals feel pain and fear the same as humans.

As a former state criminal lawyer, we prosecutors have all had cases where criminals have abused and tortured animals before abusing or killing humans. What are we teaching our children when we cheer when a calf roper knocks down and drags by the neck a bawling calf? Kids cry at rodeos. Time to end animal abuse at rodeos.

Peggy W Larson, DVM MS JD


Editor’s note: Opinion pieces and letters to the editor are the personal opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Paso Robles Daily News or its staff. We welcome letters from local residents regarding relevant local topics. To submit one, click here.

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