Published in THE JOURNAL NEWS, Sept 2, 2002:
Animal Defenders of Westchester was present recently at
the International Championship Rodeo. We were there to protest animal abuse
and exploitation by traveling animal acts.
This particular rodeo, sponsored by the Circuits
Division of the United States Tennis Association, took place, not on the
lovely rolling hills of Harrison, home of the USTA, but in the South Bronx.
The rodeo business pushes these sad remnants of
questionable 'Americana" into poorer areas of the Bronx and Mount Vernon -
they are never held in the tonier neighborhoods.
This year this tennis rodeo has shamelessly and
blatantly exploited the death of a Sept. 11 firefighter, aligning itself
with his heroism to sell tickets. Does no one see through such a cheap ploy?
I maintain that there is nothing heroic or manly about
cinching a strap painfully near an animal's genitals to make him 'buck," or
yanking a terrified animal off his feet by his neck and smashing him to the
ground. These activities have been banned in municipalities all over the
United States and the world, most recently in the Town of Greenburgh.
Furthermore, the City of Mount Vernon is currently in the process of
creating its own ordinance against these events, which teach children that
it is acceptable to bully helpless beings.
We are calling upon the USTA to immediately withdraw
all involvement with this rodeo, and any other traveling animal act. I thank
The Journal News for giving us a voice about this situation, which was
denied us by all other print media.
The writer is spokesperson,
Animal Defenders of Westchester
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