Calgary Stampede Rodeo Horse Deaths Draw Protests

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Calgary Stampede Rodeo Deaths Draw Protests


Members of an animal rights group protested the death of three animals in one week at the Calgary Stampede as evidence that the event needs to change.

A steer had to be euthanized on Thursday night after it suffered a major spinal cord injury during the steer wrestling rodeo competition.

On Tuesday night, a horse broke a leg during a GMC Rangeland Derby chuckwagon race and had to be put down. Another horse collapsed on Sunday and died of an apparent heart attack a few hours after competing in the chuckwagon competition.

"I think people do it because people like the pageantry, and people like the tradition of it and they'll let it trump the morality of the issue," said protester Jeremy Thomas.

"There are a lot of Calgarians that are against the rodeo and who are against the suffering of animals just for entertainment."

Members of the Calgary Animal Rights Meetup Group erected a mock animal graveyard outside the grounds near the Victoria Park C-Train station on Friday and tried to hand out flyers calling for an end to the rodeo.

Little support for protest

But most people attending the Stampede kept walking past them and declined to take any information.

"We know that we have the support of tens of thousands of people who come out to the Stampede every day," said Stampede spokesman Doug Fraser.

Bonny Lecopy Doenz, whose father is a rancher in Elk Point, plans to join other protesters outside the grounds this weekend while holding a sign that calls for a ban on calf roping.

She said she's angry that the Calgary Humane Society, which monitors animal treatment at the Stampede, has not joined the vocal opposition to animal contests during the 10-day event.

"I actually cancelled my donation and I let them know how I feel because I think that they should be supporting us as an animal rights group. They say they're against cruelty in entertainment but I don't think they're proving that."

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