Letter to the Editor: Rodeos – cruelty disguised
Cowboy boots, rugged individualism, brave cowboys and cowgirls; the Reno Rodeo is in town with the Truckee Rodeo coming next month. Rodeos are promoted as rough-and-tough exercises of skill and courage in a cavalier spirit of the wild west. What’s not widely seen are the electric prods, spurs, bucking straps, animal injuries; sometimes resulting in death, all without the animal’s consent.
Anyone who has lived with a companion animal (dog, cat, horse, etc.) knows that it’s wrong to clothesline a baby animal, body slam it to the ground, tie its legs so it can’t move, and drag it by the neck. If this were done to a puppy or kitten, the offender would understandably be charged with a crime and likely jailed. In rodeos, however, its called calf roping and considered sport.
At the root of rodeo violence is our human history of eating animals. Animal cruelty has largely remained unexamined due to the fact that we are killing and exploiting the lives of animals for our food. Our habituation to the cruelty to animals in rodeos is merely a reflection of what and how we eat.
Kindness and compassion toward all living beings is a mark of an evolving society. Racism, economical deprival, dog fighting, bull fighting and rodeos are all cut from the same fabric. Awakening our empathetic response, understanding how animals experience the world around them will deepen our own lives, and create a more compassionate world – resulting in communities finding new ways to entertain themselves, rather than at the suffering of others.