Op Ed: Rodeo Treatment of Animals

When we think of the rodeo, we usually think about the carnival rides, the food, and the adorable farm animals. When we go to the rodeo with our friends and family, we do not see the more sinister: the abusive treatment of the animals. The animals are more than often overworked and injured. The animals are fed and taken care of solely to make a profit, while the owners expose children to this behavior, sanctioning it. I believe that we need to all wake up and realize that this is not okay. The rodeo needs to be held accountable for its poor treatment of animals.

One of the most enticing activities of the rodeo is bull riding. A rider gets on the bull and tries to remain on it while the bull kicks and swerves, trying to get the rider off. While this might be a fun activity for the rider and the audience, for the bull, it is not. The bull is scared because it sees the rider as a predator. The kicking and swerving are a fear response as the bull thinks it is fighting for its life. The bulls often are injured as they try to get the rider off of them because of the life-threatening situation they believe they are in.

Bucking straps and other bull riding accessories enhance the bull riding experience by making the bulls kick and swerve even higher and faster than usual, which often leads to the bull breaking its legs, back and/or ribs. When the bull is injured and deemed too expensive to make a full recovery, it winds up at the slaughterhouse. This cycle continues throughout the life of many, if not all, of the rodeo animals.

Another activity that’s gained the rodeo so much attraction is horse racing. The horses are forced to run as fast as they can for entertainment purposes. Many horses get their muscles stretched, their legs broken, and are just generally exhausted from the races. Some other animals consist of rabbits, pigs, lambs, and much more. Kept in restricted areas, these animals have limited space to move in. We also cannot forget that while petting the animals and spending time with them can be an enjoyable activity for us, animals may feel annoyed. The animals are usually pet and played with the entire day without getting any break.

Next time you decide to visit a zoo, aquarium, or livestock show, think, should animals be exploited for profit and entertainment?