Animal welfare issues – Dangers, injuries, deaths and cruelty of the Horse and Cattle.
Modern rodeos in the United States are closely regulated and have responded to accusations of animal cruelty by instituting a number of rules to guide how rodeo livestock are to be managed. The PRCA has 60 rules that specifically regulate the proper care and treatment of rodeo animals; these guidelines must be followed by all rodeo participants in sanctioned rodeos.
In 1994, a survey of 28 sanctioned rodeos was conducted by on-site independent veterinarians. Reviewing 33,991 animal runs, the injury rate was documented at 16 animals or 0.047 percent, less than five-hundredths of one percent or one in 2000 animals. A study of rodeo animals in Australia found a similar injury rate. Basic injuries occurred at a rate of 0.072 percent, or one in 1,405, with injuries requiring veterinary attention at 0.036 percent, or one injury in every 2810 times the animal was used, and transport, yarding and competition were all included in the study.
A later PRCA survey of 60,971 animal performances at 198 rodeo performances and 73 sections of “slack” indicated 27 animals were injured, again approximately five-hundredths of 1 percent – 0.0004. However, accusations of cruelty in the USA persist. The PRCA acknowledges that they only sanction about 30 percent of all rodeos, while another 50 percent are sanctioned by other organizations and 20 percent are completely unsanctioned.
Several animal rights organizations keep records of accidents and incidents of possible animal abuse. They cite various specific incidents of injury to support their statements, and also point to examples of long-term breakdown, as well as reporting on injuries and deaths suffered by animals in non-rodeo events staged on the periphery of professional rodeo such as chuck wagon races and “suicide runs”. While in terms of actual statistics on animal injury rate, there appear to be no more recent independent studies on animal injury in rodeo than the 1994 study, groups such as PETA gather anecdotal reports such as one from a 2010 rodeo in Colorado alleging eleven animal injuries, of which two were fatal.
There are powerful economic reasons to treat animals well. Bucking horses and bulls are costly to replace: a proven bucking horse can be sold for $8000 to $10,000, making “rough stock” an investment worth caring for and keeping in good health for many years. Health regulations mandate vaccinations and blood testing of horses crossing state lines, so rodeo horses receive routine care. An injured animal will not buck well and hence a cowboy cannot obtain a high score for his ride, so sick or injured animals are not run through the chutes, but instead are given appropriate veterinary care so they can be returned to their usual level of strength and power. PRCA regulations require veterinarians to be available at all rodeos to treat both bucking stock and other animals as needed. The PRCA requires a veterinarian be at all sanctioned rodeos.
Over the years, some states imposed regulations on certain techniques and tools used in rodeos. In 2000, California became the first state to prohibit the use of cattle prods on animals in the chute. The city of Pittsburgh prohibited the use of flank straps as well as prods or shocking devices, wire tie-downs, and sharpened or fixed spurs or rowels at rodeos or rodeo-related events. Some other cities and states have passed similar prohibitions.
Under PRCA guidelines, electric prods may not deliver a shock stronger than can be produced from two D batteries. Prods are allowed as long as the situation requires them to protect the people or the animals.
There is a debate between animal rights/welfare organizations and bull riding enthusiasts over many aspects of the sport. One source of controversy is the flank strap. The flank strap is placed around a bull’s flank, just in front of the hind legs, to encourage bucking. Critics say that the flank strap encircles or otherwise binds the genitals of the bull. However, the flank strap is anatomically impossible to place over the testicles. Many point out that the bull’s genes are valuable and that there is a strong economic incentive to keep the animal in good reproductive health. Further, particularly in the case of bulls, an animal that is sick and in pain usually will not want to move at all, will not buck as well, and may even lie down in the chute or ring rather than a buck.
Why use a flank strap? (or, “bucking strap”) is used to encourage the bull to kick out straighter and higher when it bucks. The flank strap is about 4 inches wide, covered in sheepskin or neoprene and fastens behind the widest part of the abdomen. Flank straps that hurt the bulls are not allowed by rodeo rules in the United States.
However, a bucking strap has to be an incentive, not a prod, or the bull will quickly sour and refuse to work. A bull in pain will become sullen and not buck very well, and harm to the genitalia is anatomically impossible because the stifle joint of the hind leg limits how far back a flank strap can be attached.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has stated that burrs and other irritants are at times placed under the flank strap and that improperly used flank straps can cause open wounds and burns if the hair is rubbed off and the skin is chafed raw. However, while the implied argument behind this claim is that pain is what makes the bull buck, in actual practice, irritants or pain generally interfere with a bull’s ability to buck in an energetic and athletic fashion.
In reality, rodeos are nothing more than manipulative displays of human domination over animals, thinly disguised as entertainment. What began in the 1800s as a contest of skill among cowboys has become a show motivated by greed and big profits.
When the flank strap is paired with spurring, it causes the animals to buck even more violently, often resulting in serious injuries. Former animal control officers have found burrs and other irritants placed under the flank strap. In addition, the flank strap can cause open wounds and burns when the hair is rubbed off and the skin chafes.
Although rodeo cowboys voluntarily risk injury by participating in events, the animals they use have no such choice. Because speed is a factor in many rodeo events, the risk of accidents is high.
Why are there so few women Bull Riders?
Please read these very interesting articles, that pretty much sum up the question:
Whilst the obvious dangers in the sport for both men and women, discrimination, sexism, and racism are always here to stay.
Also noted is the fact that women, physically, are not as strong or resilient as men.
Bull riding is a very brutal sport and not many women have the physical strength to do this sport. Sure, the technique is also important, but one can’t rely on this alone.
Women’s bull riding events are hardly aired on television and the prize money is way below what the men are earning.
Companies are very reluctant to sponsor women in bull riding, with the trepidation that women will badly injure themselves and this will negatively affect the company’s reputations.
There is very little marketing supporting women in bull riding. Women very rarely are found to be marketable, in that, the men get all the credit.
You will very rarely find women in bull riding, in magazines, on television, on social media, or on branded clothing and they also have difficulty finding the right fitting equipment.
Sadly, you will find audiences of men and women and competitors, mocking, ridiculing, swearing, shaming, putting women down and even spitting on them.
So all of this makes it very difficult for women to enter this arena.
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If you wish to learn more about this sport and its history, just pop me a mail and I will send the information to you: firstname.lastname@example.org
When you are ready to take on those mounts, Please take a moment and bow to people that are disabled, that cannot take part in such sports.
My views, comments and content are strictly are of my own opinion and research and are not governed or influenced by any marketing of companies or brands. It is of my own free will to mention companies and brands that supply sporting equipment pertaining to the sport in the discussion.