from the press release
Tucson, AZ – SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) are accusing the Tucson Rodeo of recklessly endangering the safety of young children at its Dodge Mutton Bustin’ event. A video filmed at the 2013 rodeo shows contestants being hurled off the backs of sheep, being thrown into metal fencing, losing their helmets, being trampled and leaving the arena hurt and crying. In one instance the child has to be carried out of the arena by his parent.
SHARK president, Steve Hindi stated, “It is unconscionable to me that parents would willingly amuse themselves by putting their children in such a dangerous situation. It’s aggravated child abuse.” Mutton Bustin’ is a competition where children aged 4 – 6 ride sheep that throw them off seconds after leaving the chute. Children are often dragged by the sheep and their helmets fly off exposing them to head injuries. The sheep a can weigh up to five times what their riders weigh.
The organizers of the event do not track the injuries that occur. At some Mutton Bustin’ events there is no requirement to wear safety gear. Parents must sign waivers releasing the event organizers from any liability and personal injury insurance is also a requirement. From its inception Mutton Bustin’ has been controversial. Animal protective agencies are finding complaints about the event reason enough to investigate.