The following is from the Opinion pages of the Edmonton Journal regarding the recent injury and death of a horse participating in the Chuckwagon race in the Calgary Stampede, where horses seem to die on a regular basis no matter what precautions they take.
Written by K.H. HUNTER
- “The media and citizens need to educate themselves on one of Alberta’s most popular sports.
“The recent death of yet another horse at the Calgary Stampede has produced varied responses from the public and experts, including the comparison between the death of a horse and a car accident, and the genetic weakness of thoroughbred horses.
“Horses have been our willing partners and helpers for thousands of years. Here in Alberta, they helped us by being our transportation and playing the primary role in both ranching and farming. The raising, training, caring for and use of horses for work and pleasure was a daily responsibility in those days.
“Believe me when I say no honourable horsemen from the Romans to modern Olympic equestrians would ever strap on a leather belt (known as a flank strap) and cinch it across the groin of a horse to make them buck. And yes, that is what the spectacle of rodeo counts on: inhumane application of discomfort and pain to make horses and bulls buck.
“Added to these insults are the chuckwagon races that use former thoroughbred racehorses that have been retired from racing because of their inability to run fast enough anymore because of age, lameness, and/ or a lack of desire.
“I’m not a member of PETA, but as a second-generation prairie horseman I’m sickened that rodeos continue to host events that include bronc riding, bull riding and chuckwagon races.
“And for all those folks involved in the royal tour, you can thank your lucky stars that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were heading south when the chuckwagon horse died due to catastrophic injuries.”
— Horse death toll rises to six in Calgary Stampede; 17 July 2010; Tuesday’s Horse