JULY 4, 2013
Animals are people, too... well, kind of

What do I know about Calgary Stampede? My Manitoba prairies ignorance says, "horses die there every year" but aside from that, it's a bunch of cowboys and bull riding... and stuff, right?

I will be the first to admit that only the overshadowing news of animals dying during chuckwagon races is what sticks out in my mind when it comes to the annual event in Cowtown.

While the Stampede happenings don't often make national headlines -- except for when scandal erupts -- we don't get much info passed along to us unless we go looking for it.

Every year, famed Baywatch star and Playboy Playmate Pamela Anderson goes on the offensive to call for an end to the Stampede’s events that she says -- as do humane societies and other animal organizations across North America – are cruel to animals.

This year the Vancouver Humane Society is lending its voice calling calf roping a "sadistic sport," according to a statement from its director.

I am just not one of those people who finds it entertaining to do things to animals (maybe aside from dressing up my dogs for Canada Day, but that's more patriorism than anything else).

Watching a terrified animal struggle while surrounded by cheering people isn't all that enjoyable for me.

At the end of June a horse died at a New Jersey rodeo and there are allegations participants used an electric prod seconds before the gate flung open and a cowboy attempted to ride the bucking animal.

In the incident, caught on tape, the horse fell to the ground and suffered from – well, it really depends who you ask. Preliminary reports said the horse died from a few things: natural causes, an aneurysm or electrocution. Organizers, of course, are the ones saying it was natural causes.

Either way, rodeos are humans using animals for "sport" or entertainment and when an animal dies just so humans can get their jollies it does bring up the question of morality. Like it or not, it's a debate that won't go away anytime soon. And with more and more videos of animals being harmed by people circulating on the Internet, it is likely to be a hot topic for years to come.
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