Re: Cruelty In The Eye Of The Beholder (Our View, May 14)
The author of the editorial was correct when they said, “It’s easy to form a negative opinion of someone else’s behaviour or way of life.” This was evident by ads printed in the Luxton Rodeo program which described those who are against rodeo with words like “evil” and “losers.” Then there were the rodeo fans who offered insulting comments to protestors at the entrance to the fair.
Historical significance, financial benefits and all the other rationalizations for the rodeo do not negate one irrefutable fact: when a calf bolts from the chute, it is intensely stressed, filled with fear and subject to injury. That they are well cared for prior to, and after the event, is an aside from the issue.
The rodeo defends itself by saying that injuries and deaths don’t happen often. But many internal injuries such as organ bruising, hemorrhaging and cracked or fractured ribs can go undetected. Just one death, in the name of entertainment, should be too much.
Animal behaviourists and biologists are in agreement, rodeo events are harmful to animals. In the past decade, the world has evolved toward a new understanding that animals actually do have emotions and suffer when they are severely frightened and in pain. That any animal should suffer in the name of sport and entertainment is unacceptable in a Canadian society.
In the past year, our country has banned the use of battery crates to raise chickens and gestation crates for pigs. As Canadians, our compassion and respect for life is such that we insisted that chickens and pigs be raised without suffering, even though they’ll end up on our dinner plate.
Essentially, Langford council needs to address a question of ethics. Do we have a right to subject an animal to a high degree of stress, fear and risk of injury or death for a few seconds of entertainment and the chance for a cowboy to win money and fame?