A cruel detour to the slaughterhouse
Is an inhumane rodeo Montreal’s new idea of entertainment?
By Anne Streeter
Stranger than fiction. Montreal is celebrating it’s 375th birthday this year and one of the events taking place this summer will be a rodeo in the historic Old Port section of the city!
You ask – what is wrong with this picture? What is a rodeo and does it belong here? Does it even belong in the West? Supporters maintain it represents historical fact in cowboy lore. In fact it really doesn’t. Chuck wagon racing, steer wrestling, bronco riding and barrel racing were never part of the ranching scene. The only activity remotely accurate would be calf roping for branding purposes but this was never meant to be entertainment.
Chuck wagon racing, steer wrestling, bronco riding and barrel racing were never part of the ranching scene.
Rodeo today is entertainment only – entertainment at the expense of animals. There is no question that animals suffer in rodeos, regardless of what the promoters tell us. Rarely does a Calgary Stampede end without an animal dying – some instantly and others having to be euthanized because of their injuries. The stats are irrefutable.
Back to Montreal. Of all the wonderful events that could take place to honour the birthday of this amazing and special city why would the powers that be decide on such a crude and potentially cruel activity? To the surprise of the Mayor, the promoters and the sponsors, there has been an amazing backlash from just about every segment of society – individuals, the Press, humane societies, Montreal’s official opposition party, vets and vet techs. To be more specific, Project Montréal has come out in opposition, the CSPCA, the Vancouver Humane Society, Animal Alliance of Canada and the International Humane Society have all submitted petitions with thousands of signatures. A petition with 600 signatures from vets and vet techs was submitted with comment at City Hall.
‘Of all the wonderful events that could take place to honour the birthday of this amazing and special city why would the powers that be decide on such a crude and potentially cruel activity?’
Twenty-three national and international animal welfare organizations have put forward their names in opposition to this event. As well, two very well known sponsors have backed out of this segment of the Nomadfest.Mayor Coderre apparently stands by this decision. It is hard to know what more could be done to put a halt to this event. Of course there will be demonstrations during the three-day event. It certainly would have been preferable to nip this in the bud but now we have to make sure that rodeo never comes to our city again.
On a final note I have to say that Montreal, particularly under Mayor Coderre, is not an animal friendly city. Rodeo is a first and breed specific legislation is a first. As well, we have the ongoing serious controversy about caleche horses. In light of all the information against horses working in an urban environment, Mayor Coderre is determined to keep them on the city streets. Interestingly, Project Montreal, the official opposition, is opposed to caleche horses in the city, breed specific legislation and the rodeo.
It is time for Montreal to recognize that we are behind the times when it comes to evolving concerns about animal welfare. The interest is here. Lets see that it translates into action.
Feature image: courtesy of Animal Alliance of Canada
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of WestmountMag.ca, its publishers or editors.
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Anne Streeter worked as a volunteer with the International Fund for Animal Welfare. She was one of the first people to go with Brian Davies to the ice off of the Magdalen Islands to see if tourism could be an alternative to the seal hunt back in 1970. She later moved over to the International Wildlife Coalition (USA) to head up their campaign against fur. She served on the CSPCA Board from 1990 until 1993. She is a Director of the Animal Alliance of Canada since 1990.