GOSHEN — A group organized by local residents Sheryl Becker and Jill Allibrandi came together to protest the Goshen Stampede, held at the Goshen Fairgrounds, last Sunday.

The demonstration was facilitated by CompassionWorks International, a national nonprofit dedicated to creating a more compassionate world for all beings through community-based actions for animals. www.cwint.org.

“We believe it is important to expose the truth of what animals used by the rodeo endure. Through our public demonstration, we hope to raise awareness in people choosing to attend the rodeo that the animals subjected to rodeo events are not unfeeling robots, but live, sentient beings,” said Becker, in a statement. “I can only imagine the outrage that we’d see in Connecticut if family dogs were tormented, roped, tied, and slammed to the ground. Why is this appropriate for an animal of any species? Simple. It isn’t.”

“Currently there is a worldwide movement to put an end to the rodeo,” the group said in the statement. “The United Kingdom and the Netherlands have successfully banned the rodeo in its entirety, while Vancouver, Canada has put so many restrictions in place that the rodeo is inoperable there. Several cities and states around the U.S. have also put restrictions and limitations on common rodeo practices such as calf roping and the use of electric prods.”

Becker said, “Electric prods are sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for use on animals ‘only when necessary.’ Bucking horses must be spurred over the shoulders on each jump or buck in order for the rider to qualify. The spurs cause blunt trauma to the shoulders, which don’t have time to heal properly before the horse is ridden and spurred in another rodeo. In our view, the use of prods and spurring are abhorrent practices that should never be regarded as necessary. Any veterinarian who finds this an acceptable way to treat an animal, as ‘rodeo veterinarians’ do, shouldn’t be trusted with the care of any animal. The PRCA’s ‘livestock welfare rules’ are a joke, and a clear case of the fox guarding the hen house.”

The cruelest rodeo events are the roping events. In calf roping, baby calves are used. If they were not in the rodeo, these calves would still be with their mothers on pasture. Weighing less than 300 pounds, they are forced to run at speeds in excess of 25 miles per hour when roped. The reason they run at such high speeds is that they are tormented in the holding chute: their tails are twisted, their tails are rubbed back and forth over the steel chute bars, and they are shocked with 5000-volt electric prods until the gate opens. They burst out of the chute at top speed only to be stopped short — or “clotheslined” — with a choking rope around the neck. They are often injured, and some are killed, said CompassionWorks.

CompassionWorks considers rodeos to be constant trauma for the animals forced to participate. They suffer broken ribs, backs, and legs, torn tails, punctured lungs, internal organ damage, ripped tendons, torn ligaments, snapped necks, and suffer agonizing deaths. It is an inescapable fact that the rodeo, which torments animals for amusement, thrives on blatant animal abuse.

And this abuse begins even prior to their arrival in the ring. The animals doomed to participate are transported in overcrowded trucks and trailers, and they may be confined for as long as 24 hours without being properly fed or watered according to PRCA “regulations.” Ropers are allowed to cripple as many as 3-4 animals a day while practicing for their “performance,” said a CompassionWorks statement

Becker concluded by stating, “Look at any image of the rodeo. The animals are flailing wildly. They are in the air or splayed out on the ground, roped. They are bucking, struggling, attempting to gain freedom. These are not the behaviors of happy, well-cared for animals. These are the behaviors of animals terrified or in pain — afraid for their lives. Yet those that participate in the rodeo think these are images of tradition, of moments of glory? We find it repelant that any person in today’s society would find joy or entertainment value in terrifying and injuring an animal, either in the participation of it, or in the viewing of it.”

Visit www.rodeofacts.com for more information.

Connecticut Media Group