Watch the above video and the Tucson Rodeo hype will give you pause. Or perhaps we as a society are immune to violence and animal cruelty but I think not. Do animals need to be harmed, shocked with thousands of voltage in order for a rodeo to exist? I don’t know the answer to that.
Two years ago, I asked that same question on Tucson Tails and received a variety of comments.
The animal advocacy group SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness) sent Tucson Tails this press release. I’m posting it in its entirety. You be the judge:
“GABBY GIFFORDS AND MARK KELLY URGED TO WITHDRAW SUPPORT FROM TUCSON RODEO
Tucson, AZ– SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), an animal protection organization, is urging former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and husband ex-astronaut Mark Kelly, to withdraw their support from the Tucson Rodeo after it was announced they were to be Grand Marshalls of this year’s rodeo parade.
Citing multiple incidents of documented animal cruelty as well as the 2009 death of a 9-year-old girl appearing in the parade, SHARK is asking Giffords and Kelly to be heroes for the humans and the abused animals injured and killed at rodeos every year. SHARK president, Steve Hindi says, “We filmed the illegal use of electric prods on numerous horses at the Tucson rodeo. We hope that the compassion the country has shown to Gabby and Mark will now be extended by them to the victims of rodeos.”
Hindi went on to say, “In a recent visit to the site of the Newtown massacre Giffords was quoted as discussing with local officials her concerns that our society has become desensitized to violence. Here is a perfect example of how good people like Gabby and Mark are conditioned to accept violence to animals.”
Click here for video footage of horses being shocked at Tucson rodeo: (same video as above)
In 2008, prompted by a SHARK investigation, the Department of Agriculture, Animal Services Division did it’s own investigation of animal cruelty at the Tucson rodeo. Videos taken by SHARK clearly showed handlers using the Hot-Shot Power-Mite livestock prod to shock horses out of the bucking chutes and then trying to deliberately hide their actions. The prod in use delivers up to 6,000 volts of electricity and according to statements issued by the manufacturer is designed to aid in the movement of cattle and hogs and is not for use on horses, including horses in a rodeo environment.
In 2009, parade crowds were shocked to witness a horse being kicked multiple times and having its tail pulled when obviously in pain and distress after falling during the event. An investigation was launched but it is unclear what happened to the horse.
SHARK is a US registered 501©(3) tax-deductible non-profit charity. SHARK’s mission is to nonviolently battle animal abuse whenever and wherever possible.”