EDITORIAL: Cruelty in the eye of beholder

It’s easy to form a negative opinion on someone else’s behaviour or way of life.

It’s easy to form a negative opinion on someone else’s behaviour or way of life.

In the case of the groups and individuals fighting to have rodeo either banned from Langford or have certain events removed, we believe some of the fervour may come from a lack of understanding of how rodeo works.

Those speaking out against the Luxton Rodeo may not realize the history of the sport or understand how it relates to a way of life that continues to this day in rural areas of North America.

Livestock, as the animals used in rodeo are classified in B.C., have been a major part of the livelihoods of those providing food to the masses for decades.

They also continue to be a environmentally friendly part of their working life. While many ranch hands ride all-terrain vehicles to mend far-flung fences these days, there are others who ride a horse to do that job, preferring not to spook the livestock.

From a business standpoint, rodeo livestock providers have a lot at stake in keeping their animals healthy and in good shape. From the smallest calves used in calf roping and tie-down events to the large, muscular bulls that do their best to buck would-riders off their backs, they are professional athletes and are treated as such.

Just like the men and women who use horses and cattle to earn a part of their living – relatively few are full-time pros – the animals need to be fed well, exercised and rested to perform at their peak.

Interestingly, with the stock companies and the pro rodeo associations that organize the competitions taking care of the animals, the cattle involved often live longer than their non-rodeo counterparts, who are otherwise being groomed for the food chain.

Cruelty to animals is something no one should put up with, and if the majority popular opinion sways to deem us wrong, by all means, ban certain rodeo events.

But as far as we’re concerned, the animals involved in rodeo are not being cruelly treated. If anything, it’s the exact opposite.