Animal Emotions

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Horse Shocked and Dies at New Jersey Rodeo: Time to Ban Them

Shocking horses, despite being banned in rodeos, continues to horse's demise

Just this weekend I learned about a most horrific event, namely, the shocking of horses at the Cowtown Rodeo in New Jersey and the horrific death of one of these most amazing beings, a nine-year old named Duke. This tragic event was filmed by an investigator of the organization called SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) and is being formally investigated by the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). You can read the SHARK report here

It's okay to shock horses because injuries happen to family members, "equine, bovine, or humankind", claims rodeo announcer

There is a video accompanying the news story about which I must caution you that can also be seen here, because not only is the footage of the convulsing horse sickening, but so too are the words of the announcer. As the horse is convulsing and dying the announcer monotonically and heartlessly tells us that horses are part of our family and injuries do happen to family members, "equine, bovine, or humankind." He notes that people really do love the animals who they use and brutally abuse in rodeos and I always say when I hear this claim, I'm glad they don't love me. 

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We also consider dogs to be family members and no one I know, and I'd like to think no one at all, would ever allow a dog to be treated in such a reprehensible way for "entertainment." And horses do not suffer less than our "best friends". Nonetheless, I do know that dog fighting still exists and, of course, also should be banned along with rodeos. 

It's time to ban rodeos as "entertainment" and voters agree

It's really time to ban rodeos, which truly are a form of sanctioned violence with a long history of heartlessly brutalizing other animals (for more information please click here and also see this story about alleged horse shocking by poking a male in his anus at a rodeo in Reno, Nevada), although shocking is prohibited by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). The PRCA happens to continue to sanction the Cowtown Rodeo. 

A comment posted with the YouTube video by Samantha Elizabeth tells it all:

"To those saying this is 'BS' and everything; I was born and raised in a family where rodeo is a big thing. And I'll tell you now; those horses are NOT bred to be wild. You cannot breed a horse to perform a certain way. You have to get them to act a certain way. And how did those people do it? Used a shock device that was NOT designed for a horse. The horse was obviously healthy. The death was caused by the shock. What pisses me off more is how the judges just keep speaking.. Absolutely sickening".

Please vote here. You won't be alone in voting to ban rodeos -- the online pole in which you can partake, shows, as I'm writing, that 44,430 people have voted and 61% say "yes" to banning rodeos, whereas only 39% say "no". Cruelty can't stand the spotlight and let's end rodeos once and for all. 

The teaser image can be seen here.

 

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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