Rodeo returns to Madison Square Garden June 2020.

NYC legislators wrangle with proposed ban on cruel rodeo acts

ALBANY — New York’s agricultural community is bucking legislation that would ban allegedly “cruel” rodeo acts, such as including bull riding and calf roping.

The measure was drafted by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, an animal rights advocate who launched the push to curb New York rodeos after learning that Madison Square Garden will be the setting for an extravaganza — “Rodeo New York” — to be televised on the Cowboy Channel in June.

Rosenthal’s proposal to corral some rodeo acts is kicking up more resistance.

Opponents call a ban on rodeos unnecessary and point out the events draw enthusiastic crowds when they are held at county fairs and several upstate ranches.

“We encourage Assemblywoman Rosenthal to actually attend a rodeo and meet with horse owners before sponsoring what may be a well-intentioned, but misguided and unwarranted bill,” said Steve Ammerman, spokesman for the New York Farm Bureau. The nonprofit group is the lobby for the state’s agricultural industry.”[1]

Beware of what you wish for Ammerman. Witnessing rodeo cruelties in person is even more devastating that seeing them in videos.

In the meantime, Rosenthal makes her view perfectly clear.

“Rodeos are modern day gladiator games — blood sport masquerading as entertainment. Make no mistake about it: bull riding and other rodeo events are not family-friendly entertainment. Animals used in rodeos are forced to travel city to city to put on a show that revolves around humans terrorizing them until they act out of terror, pain and exhaustion. Many animals are injured, and some are killed as a result. I’ve introduced legislation to prohibit animal abuse in the context of rodeos. Outside the context of the rodeo, events such as these would easily be classified as cruelty.” [2]

Peggy Larson, a large animal veterinarian and a former rodeo bareback bronc competitor herself, said the injuries sustained by animals abused in rodeos include broken bones, ruptured internal organs, massive internal hemorrhage, hemorrhage from torn muscles, dislocated joints, extensive bruising, torn ligaments, damaged tendons, hemorrhage, damage to the throat, and damage to the thyroid gland, and many of them die because of those injuries.

“Animals in rodeos suffer severe injuries and intense pain and it is inhumane to allow rodeos to continue,” Larson said.[3]

Bill Summary

Bill A08554 “Prohibits certain acts in rodeos; imposes penalties for the violation of such acts.” If the bill becomes law, it would “prohibit the use of cruel acts in rodeos, including calf roping and the use of electric prods, flank or bucking straps and sharpened or fixed spurs.”

The Bill does not call for an all out ban. If only it did.

Calling New York State Residents

The Fund for Horses endorses New York State Assembly Bill A08554.

If you are a New York State resident, contact your Assemblymember stating you support the passage of Bill A08554 and encourage them to endorse and vote yes for it.

Find your Assemblymember here.

Know your District No.? Here’s a list of all Assemblymembers which includes their phone number, fax number and email addresses. If you prefer, here’s a list of all emails addresses in alphabetical order by Member.

Track Bill A08554 and more here.

Madison Square Garden

The Garden is promoting the event this way:

For the first time in over thirty years, Rodeo will return to Madison Square Garden as THE COWBOY CHANNEL presents ‘RODEO NEW YORK’ taking place Father’s Day weekend, June 19-21, 2020.

Related Reading

Anti-rodeo activists protest at home of Madison Square Garden President Andrew Lustgarten, Dec. 18, 2019, Tuesday’s Horse

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