Saturday, March 12, 2016

PBR Rodeo Protest 2/27/16

A few weeks ago I attended a rodeo protest at the Moda Center here in PDX. I was a little nervous knowing that these crowds can be fairly ornery in general(used to work security here), let alone with a bunch of animal rights folks challenging their entertainment choices.Adding to my trepidation was a giant banner held by one person at the action, proclaiming "Rodeo Fans are Assholes"....needless to say I didn't stand next to this gentleman. Hate and personal attack type messages like this do not help us in this movement. Insults and aggressive language were being slung back and forth....very unsightly.

I was sure to wear my vegan shirt proudly to help tie in the fact of that these are conjoined issues. The general swagger and arrogance of the crowd was a bit much at times, many people hooting and hollering, celebrating the abuse of the animals inside, and also throwing out the cliched "I wish i had time to protest" remark. Many folks were very unhealthy looking and overweight, and felt pangs of sorrow for their self-inflicted trauma via consuming dead animals and their secretions...

A few women came over and started chatting with us about what we were all about, with one asking why we were apparently "bothering" with  this small potatoes event, and suggest we take our efforts to St. Paul, OR for the big gathering. She was rather defensive, saying she had "grown up going to rodeos" and asked if we protested puppy mills as well. I told her all animal oppression is unacceptable, and try and prevent it wherever we can. She then recognized the fact I was vegan, commenting on how that would be hypocritical of me if I wasn't...the gears were definitely turning with this one.

Overall, we no doubt planted many vegan seeds that night, and I hope to stand up again when they come back next time.

FB write up:

Join PAWA members and local activists to protest the rodeo coming to PDX!

These "professional bull riders" are engaging in animal cruelty and we want those attending to reconsider supporting it and raise awareness to the public.

Please bring a sign or poster to hold outside the entrance in the plaza area. (But please do not harass attendees, this is a peaceful demonstration.) Be creative, but possible suggestions include: "Rodeo Go Home!", "Bull Riding Is Cruel", and "Animals Suffer For Your Entertainment".

More info on the issue from ALDF:

Rodeo is popular throughout the western United States and is the official state sport of Wyoming, South Dakota, and Texas. While “entertaining” the audience, animals are physically provoked in order to make the cowboys appear more impressive. However, spectators may be unaware of the suffering that the animals endure as the price of entertainment.

“Tools of Torment”
In order to elicit certain behaviors from the animals, rodeos use various tools to make animals appear more aggressive than they really are.

Such tools include the “hotshot,” an electric prod used on the animal while captive in the chute. The intense pain scares the animal into displaying abnormally dramatic reactions. Other tools include metal spurs and “bucking straps” that burn the animal’s abdomen and groin area and cause him to “buck” and can lead to back and leg injuries.

The Events
Calf Roping: a mounted rider yanks a calf into the air by her neck, slams her into the ground, and ties her legs together. During this performance, calves may cry out (if they can breathe), defecate from fear and stress, and suffer neck injuries and death.

Steer Busting: a rider ropes a steer with such force the steer flips in the air. The injury and death rates are so high that the Nevada State Veterinarian has condemned the practice.

Steer Wrestling: in this event the steer endures a high level of stress and can suffer ripped tendons, sprains and bruising, and even a broken neck.

Bull Riding and Saddle Bronc Riding: bucking straps, electric prods, and spurs are used to hurt the animal and aggravate him into reacting more roughly than he would naturally.

Injury, Pain, and Death
Rodeos mean 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 agonizing deaths.

Animals are often transported over long distances in hot and overcrowded trucks and trailers. The official rules of the PRCA permit them to be confined during transport for as long as 24 hours without being fed or watered. The injuries are not confined to the rodeos themselves. For instance, during practice sessions, a calf may be roped repeatedly, until the calf suffers injuries that require her replacement.

Despite increased publicity about animal cruelty, the PRCA has not improved animal safety. The penalties for violating regulations are not severe enough to deter abuse and are miniscule in comparison with the large rodeo cash prizes at stake.

Does the Law Protect Animals Used in Rodeos?
The federal Animal Welfare Act exempts rodeos from the protections it provides to animals. Some states exempt rodeos from their anti-cruelty statutes, while other states defer to clearly inadequate PRCA regulations to judge whether animal cruelty has occurred in rodeos.

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