Animal Defenders of Westchester

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We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704


PETA and Rodeos

This pro-rodeo article appeared in the Black Hills Pioneer; below it is my published response:

Maxed Out: PETA out of touch with reality

By: Max Wetz, Black Hills Pioneer January 31, 2003

The People for the Equal Treatment of Animals (OK so they say they're advocates for "Ethical" treatment, but I think this title fits them better) sent a letter to Gov. Mike Rounds Thursday asking that he veto legislation naming rodeo as the official state sport.

The group of animal rights activists say that rodeo is an abusive and inhumane event. "Rodeo events are, no matter the gloss put on them, gratuitously violent acts against defenseless animals," the letter reads.

I'm fairly certain by this statement that the writer of the letter, senior campaign coordinator for PETA Kristie Phelps, has never been strapped to the back of a 2,000 pound bull with an attitude, but I would hardly call it defenseless.

"Animals suffer broken bones, necks and backs in rodeo events, as well as experiencing extensive physical trauma and psychological terror," the letter reads. "Those who (my emphasis not their's) survive an event with minor injuries - bruises and the inevitable trauma of being chased, roped and yanked to the ground by their necks - are rewarded by being forced to participate in the same event just days later."

PETA has been pretty loose with their accusations of physical abuse to rodeo animals and cite very rare occasions of injury to animals as justification for the allegations. The fact of the matter is that the people are injured a whole lot more than the animals are at rodeos.

Most rodeo participants have a great deal of respect for the animals they work with and it is an insult to those people to say that they recklessly endanger the lives of animals.

But what struck me the most about the letter was the language used throughout referring to the animals in the terms most often reserved for humans ("who" and "he" in specific). I think this is very telling of what their ultimate goal is - to elevate animals to the same regard as human beings. By referring to a bull as him, it gives the animal an air of humanity and how could we allow such abuse among our fellow humans?

There is animal abuse in this world and no creature of God deserves to be tortured. But this organization is not targeting the right people. Rodeo is not inhumane; the animals are not in pain during the events, save for the occasional freak accident. If PETA wants to be useful and constructive, it needs to get off the backs of cowboys and start getting involved with those people who allow rampant overbreeding of dogs and cats and those who starve and beat their pets.

ŠThe Black Hills Pioneer, Newspapers, South Dakota, SD 2004

Kiley Blackman Feb, 01 2003

Max Wetz acknowledges some injuries to animals, though supposedly more to people, during rodeos; this can very simple be rectified by CANCELLING RODEOS. They are not a necessary part of life, they are an antiquated throwback to the days of child labor and legal slavery.

Those issues ended as people became more aware and decent; rodeo only continues because the animals essentially have no voice.

But you're fooling yourself by saying rodeo people respect the animals, Mr. Wetz. Bulls and horses "buck" due to a strap cinched painfully near their genitals. In the chute they are hit with an electric prod as well. And chasing a terrified sheep, yanking her (yes, HER, we are all animals, Mr. Wetz) off her feet, slamming her to the ground and tying her legs together is showing respect??!! You use that word to rationalize the big money purses rodeo brings. It's not "respect" - it's cruelty and it must end.

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