Dear Ms. Twain:
On behalf of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, I would like to urge you to reconsider your booking at the Calgary Stampede this year.
The CHDC is gravely concerned about the treatment of animals, including horses, who are unfortunately submitted to the rodeo circuit. While we are primarily involved in bringing a stop to the practice of horse slaughter in Canada, we cannot overlook high-risk and cruel activities that often result in the maiming and premature deaths of horses who have no choice but to buck and race for the sake of human entertainment. The condition of the hooves of rodeo horses, who clearly do not receive proper farrier care, is frankly appalling. Further, it is a fallacy that these horses buck due to their “wild” nature; instead, the disturbing truth is that tight cinch straps cause a painful stimulus that encourages the crowd-pleasing reaction characteristic of rodeo events. Injuries are commonplace at the Stampede and other rodeos. Chuckwagon races have resulted in the deaths of numerous horses over the years; as well, human fatalities have been known to occur during certain events.
Many Canadian rodeo aficionados cite tradition, culture and athleticism as justification for events such as steer-riding, chuck wagon racing, and calf-roping. In the face of increased public critique, animal welfare groups are helping to shed light on the cruelty of these events. For instance, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) calls rodeos “a cruel form of entertainment that involves the painful, stressful and potentially harmful treatment of livestock.”
At the end of their rodeo careers, what happens to injured or “spent” horses? Five equine slaughterhouses exist in Canada currently, and they are more than eager to accept rodeo horses for slaughter. As documented by CTV, horses from the Calgary Stampede are no exception: http://www.ctvnews.ca/cast-off-calgary-stampede-horses-sent-to-slaughterhouse-1.833809. The rodeo is, in fact, a cruel detour to the slaughterhouse for many of these animals.
The Calgary Stampede is heralded around the world as the Greatest Show on Earth. Most animal advocates know it is nothing short of a modern day forum for the perpetuation of animal cruelty and abuse in entertainment.
Ms. Twain, we know that you are an ethical vegetarian who cares about the plight of horses and other animals. Please act on their behalf today and cancel your appearance at the Calgary Stampede. Thank you.
Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director
Canadian Horse Defence Coalition