November 7, 2003, TORONTO – Holding a rodeo event on November 9th at the Royal Winter Fair is a bad idea according to The Humane Society of Canada. Most of the time, humans and animals work together in cooperation, but in rodeos they meet in open conflict says the animal charity.


“Rodeo events bear absolutely no relationship to modern livestock handling practices, “according to Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. “Any cowboy who treated livestock and horses like this would be thrown off any respectable ranch in heartbeat.”


“In our view, rodeos are violent spectacles which glorify the abuse of animals for the sake of entertainment. And a great deal of this abuse takes place behind the scenes in hundreds of practice sessions where animals are roped, bucked and tackled. Having timed events with prize money as the reward means that rodeos are an accident looking for a place to happen. Rodeo riders have a choice, animals don’t ,” says HSC Executive Director Michael O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan, who has worked with horses and livestock for many years holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. He has inspected rodeos in Canada and in other countries. He also believes that paying customers and corporate sponsors share a great deal of the blame for these violent spectacles.

“Our fascination with the Old West is making these animals pay a heavy price. Calves have been clocked travelling at speeds of up to 48 kph (30 miles per hour), when they are roped and jerked to the ground. No one breaks-in a horse for riding by bronc busting. Of what practical benefit is bull riding, except to demonstrate that the rider has less brains than the bull?” he asks.

O’Sullivan says that rodeo promoters also attempt to mislead the public by telling them that rodeos save horses and livestock from being sent to slaughter. “Rodeo promoters actually think city slickers are so stupid, that they will actually swallow this nonsense. When horses and livestock are too worn out or injured for rodeos, the promoters send them to the slaughterhouse anyway and replace them more unwilling and unfortunate animals,” he says.

The Humane Society of Canada is asking the public not to attend this violent spectacle and to voice their opposition by contacting Bill Duron, General Manager of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair by phone at (416) 263-3400, or by writing to the Royal Winter Fair, Coliseum, National Trade Centre, Toronto ON M6K 3C3.

Events at this Rodeo will include bull-riding, calf roping, bareback, break-away, saddle Bronc, team roping, junior steers, steer wrestling and barrel racing.

“We need to move every closer to the day when such pointless abuse of animals is no longer tolerated,” says O’Sullivan.

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at via twitter at and on Facebook at:

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

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