With the deaths of more horses at the Calgary Stampede, The Humane Society of Canada has ramped up its investigations into these kinds of events. In 2009, our animal charity received a written request from the head of the Calgary Stampede, President & Chairman, veterinarian, Dr. David Chalack who offered to travel from Calgary to Toronto for a meeting, which took place on November 9th at our charity’s office. HSC Chairman & CEO, Michael O'Sullivan reports: “When I asked him as a veterinarian and a livestock owner if he would allow his animals on his own ranch to be used in the kind of rodeo events held at the Calgary Stampede, such as calf roping, Dr. Chalack replied: “No, of course not, they are worth too much money.”
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Only the deaths and injuries which happen in front of the TV cameras and cannot be covered up and the ones we know about because the Calgary Stampede repeatedly refuses to provide details about how many more animals are harmed behind the scenes after the events or in practise events leading up to the Stampede. In our opinion, rodeo events violate a number of federal and provincial laws.
The Calgary Stampede is also unable to stand on its own two feet in a financial sense. In these hard economic times which affect all of us, each year millions of tax dollars from hard working Canadians are used to support what is in our opinion a brutal violent spectacle for the sake of entertainment. In one year alone this was a staggering amount of more than $ 65 million.
These kinds of events which involve a race against time for money, are an accident looking for a place to happen,” says Al Hickey, the animal charity’s Western Regional Director. His remarks were echoed by HSC Executive Director Michael O'Sullivan who has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, grew up working on farms and who has worked with horses all of his life: “The best way to end this kind of cruelty is to prevent it from ever taking place. Our fascination with the ‘Old West’ is forcing these gentle noble animals to pay a heavy price.”
Corporations acting on advice from their ad agencies also advertise their products and services at rodeo events, and through campaigns of consumer awareness learn about who sponsors rodeos, and decide if they want to spend their money with them. Just as importantly, in these tough financial times, hard working Canadians need to demand of their provincial and federal politicians why they are spending their hard earned tax dollars to encourage violence by propping up these kinds of animal spectacles that bear absolutely no relationship to accepted livestock handling practices.