Certain precautions are being taken. However, Equine Herpes Virus-1 is highly infectious, spreads quickly and can be debilitating, in some cases fatal. Are they going to take the temperatures of just the horses they are taking to the rodeo, but not every horse they come into contact with, before shipping?
It is amazing that the individuals involved are willing to expose horses to a potentially fatal infection simply because they do not wish to miss or cancel a college rodeo — or is it? It is a rodeo, and they are not known for sensitivity to animals. All it takes are a few unscrupulous participants and veterinarians.
The Denver Post reports:
As a highly contagious, potentially deadly horse virus continues to prompt event cancellations across the West, officials in Casper, Wyo., said today the College National Finals Rodeo will go on as planned June 12-18.
The prestigious competition draws teams from more than 100 colleges in the U.S. and Canada, as well as about 700 horses.
Equine Herpes Virus-1 is spread by horses touching noses or owners sharing tack, grooming equipment or food. The virus does not pose a risk to humans, however.
Colorado officials said today that the state now has nine infected horses and 22 suspected cases, as well as 12 quarantine or “hold” orders for facilities in Bent, Boulder, Garfield, Gunnison, Larimer, Mesa, Morgan and Weld counties.
The outbreak originated at the National Cutting Horse Association championships in Ogden, Utah, April 30 to May 8, which has been linked to most of the Colorado cases.
Health officials have urged owners to isolate their horses to help limit the spread, but they left it up to organizers of horse shows, sales and rodeos to decide whether to cancel or postpone events.
“Safety is foremost, and we’re going to do everything to keep the safety of not only our students but our livestock foremost on all fronts,” said Roger Walters, commissioner of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.
Mr. Walters, no matter how much pressure you are under to go forward with this rodeo, you should be ashamed.
And how about this from last year’s event, Mr. Walters?
An animal-rights group has posted a video showing horses being shocked with electric prods at the College National Finals Rodeo. The event’s stock contractor says the prods were used within rodeo rules.
Illinois-based Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, or SHARK, says it filmed the video Thursday during bareback-riding competition. The video shows a man with a handheld prod shocking the necks of three horses as their rides began. SHARK calls the practice painful and cruel.
That pretty much wraps it up.
If you agree it is irresponsible or unacceptable to conduct this rodeo despite the equine herpes breakout, here is the contact information for the organizers:
From their website, the events sound sickening:
The CNFR is the “Rose Bowl” of college rodeo. It is where the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association crowns individual event champions in saddle bronc riding, bare back riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, bullriding, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping, and goat tying.
How heartbreaking for the animals — especially the young and small — who are used by rodeo competitors who get a thrill or ego boost from exploiting and abusing defenseless creatures.
And don’t tell me these people are not abusive. I used to barrel race, and saw girls kick and whip their horses after a “bad round.” One actually hit her horse over the head with a coke bottle while a rodeo official watched and laughed. One competition was enough for me to know I wanted nothing to do with it. -Ed.