Bronco horse throws rider at the Calgary Stampede. Unattributed Google search result.

The horse torturing Calgary Stampede is back

Following protracted discussions with local officials, The Calgary Stampede was finally cancelled in 2020 because of potentially dangerous COVID-19 related complications. It was the first time the Canadian rodeo had been cancelled in more than a century.

The Stampede resumed this year on Friday, 9th July in a slightly altered edition of itself. We will be reporting the numbers of horse deaths, and will be greatly relieved if that turns out to be zero.

While the newspapers cover related horse deaths now, the Vancouver Humane Society began recording the number of horses killed in the Calgary Stampede in 1986. You will see that chuckwagon horses have the highest rate of fatalities.

No chuckwagon racing in 2021

In previous years, the Rangeland Derby led into the Grandstand Show but chuckwagon racing will not be included in the 2021 edition of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. Stampede officials said the exclusion of chuckwagon racing was “due to concerns for horse safety with a lack of preparation time and events ahead of the Stampede.”

Stampede horses killed 1986 — 2020

1986 — 12
12 chuckwagon horses

1987 — 2
1 chuckwagon horse – collapsed and died
1 chuckwagon horse – broken leg, euthanized

1988 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse – broken leg, euthanized

1989 — 0
0 fatalities reported

1990 — 2
1 bucking horse – euthanized
1 chuckwagon horse – broken leg, euthanized

1991 — 0
0 fatalities reported

1992 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse

1993 — 0
0 fatalities reported

1994 — 1
1 horse (novice bronc) – broken hind leg, euthanized

1995 — 3
1 chuckwagon horse – broken leg, euthanized
1 horse (novice saddle bronc) – head injury, euthanized
1 horse (novice bronc) – front leg, euthanized

1996 — 4
4 chuckwagon horses killed:
1 down with a heart attack, 2 euthanized, 1 with broken neck and leg

1997 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse died

1998 — 0
0 fatalities reported

1999 — 2
2 chuckwagon horses euthanized

2000 — 2
1 horse died of pulmonary aneurism; 1 horse euthanized (fractured front leg)

2001 — 1
1 chuckwagon outrider horse euthanized July 15th, collapsed and broke right shoulder

2002 — 6
1 chuckwagon outrider horse died of a heart attack on July 5 after running in Heat 1
5 other chuckwagon horses killed, details not reported

2003 — 0
0 fatalities reported

2004 — 1
1 horse euthanized (broken leg in wild ride event)

2005 — 13
9 horses killed in stampede on Bonnybrooke Bridge July 3
1 show horse, heart attack, July 8
1 chuckwagon horse, heart attack, July 15
2 chuckwagon horses (behind the scenes)

2006 — 4
2 chuckwagon horses (July 7) heart attack, broken leg
1 chuckwagon horse (July 13) broke two bones in his lower left front leg (Gary Gorst’s team)

2007 — 4
1 chuckwagon horse (Darcy Flad) euthanized
3 chuckwagon horses (Gary Gorst) injury in crash, euthanized

2008 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse (Reg Johnstone) euthanized (July 10)

2009 — 3
1 chuckwagon horse (Reg Johnstone) heart attack (July 5)
1 chuckwagon horse (Barry Hodgson) euthanized (July 7)
1 chuckwagon horse (Ray Mitsuing) heart attack (July 11)

2010 — 6
6 horses in livestock, rodeo and chuckwagon events

Note: More than 50 members of the UK Parliament signed a motion calling “on the Canadian government to take steps to end the immense cruelty to animals” at rodeos including the Calgary Stampede.

2011 — 4
2 chuckwagon horses — 1 with catastrophic leg injury, euthanized
2 dying with no details reported

2012 — 3
3 chuckwagon horses dead, 1 injured (lead dropped, others followed; outrider horse crashed into wagon at high speed)

2013 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse died of pulmonary hemmorhage

2014 — 1
A chuckwagon horse belonging to Reg Johnstone collapsed and died after completing the team’s training run.

“The horse was a 12-year-old thoroughbred named Denny, which had been owned by Johnstone for approximately five years. He was acquired from another chuckwagon driver after his initial career as a racehorse in the Vancouver area. The horse had last raced about a week ago at the Ponoka Stampede,” officials said. CBC.ca report »

2015 — 4
4 chuckwagon horses

2016 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse

2017 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse

2018 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse

2019 — 6
6 chuckwagon horses

The 2019 Calgary Stampede rodeo event is tied for second place as the deadliest year for chuckwagon horses in more than three decades. The total tally of all animals killed at the Stampede has now surpassed 100. — Vancouver Humane Society.

2020 — 0
Cancelled due to Covid.

2021 — 0

As noted above, the Stampede decided not to hold chuckwagon racing in 2021. “Stampede officials said the exclusion of chuckwagons was due to concerns for horse safety with a lack of preparation time and events ahead of the Stampede.”

NOTE: The above figures are in-competition numbers. There are many more animals used behind the scenes to perfect the “cowboy’s” rodeo skills. These figures do NOT include horses who were injured and/or killed during these practices.

Here is another view of the number of horses killed.

CALGARY STAMPEDE. HORSES KILLED 1986 — 2020.

YearTotal Horses Killed
198612
19872
19881
19892
19902
19910
19921
19930
19941
19953
19964
19971
19980
19992
20002
20011
20026
20030
20041
200513
20064
20074
20081
20093
20106
20114
20123
20131
20141
20154
20161
20171
20181
20196
20200
TOTAL92
Source: Vancouver Humane Society.
2020 Stampede cancelled due to Covid. 2021 Chuckwagon Racing cancelled due to safety concerns.

Video

If you are new to this issue and have never seen a chuckwagon race, please watch the video below.

Three more horses had to be euthanized after the final night of the Calgary Stampede’s chuckwagon races, pushing total horse deaths at the 2019 event to six. Cancelled in 2020 because of COVID. Cancelled in 2021 because of safety concerns.

The Bow River horse drownings

When it comes to the Stampede, there are many ways they kill horses. Remember this?

In 2005, ranch hands had been guiding about 200 horses on a six-day, 206-km journey from the Stampede Ranch near Hanna, Alta., to the exhibition site near Calgary’s downtown. It was organized to commemorate the province’s centennial. As the journey neared its end, disaster struck.

Stampede spokesman Lindsey Galloway said some of the horses became frightened as they crossed a bridge over the Bow River, speeding up to a full gallop. “The bridge narrowed, they bunched together, there wasn’t enough room and several horses went over,” said Galloway.

Nine were reportedly killed. “Eight of the horses had been pulled dead from the water and another animal had to be put down later because of [his] injuries.” More may have drowned and their bodies not discovered.

The chuckwagon driver who was leading the trail ride across the bridge suffered a pulled groin muscle, but no spectators or riders were hurt, officials said.

Called bucking stock, the horses are kept at a stampede ranch outside of Calgary. They are brought to the Stampede site to take part in daily rodeos.

We have included the Bow River Nine in the horse fatality list and chart above.

Source: CBC.ca

Death by slaughter

As if the above data is not enough to chill us to the bone, we were told by a former rodeo cowboy that a “very large percent” of the “injured or used up” Stampede horses are sent to slaughter, which backs up what activists have been saying for years.

“They don’t have far to go, huh?,” the cowboy said referring to the two remaining horse slaughter plants, both now owned by Bouvry. “I began to hate it all so bad, I walked away and never looked back. It makes me feel really sick now to think about it.”

The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition is waging an aggressive campaign to end Canada’s role as an exporter of live horses and frozen horsemeat for human consumption. Please give them your support.

Corporate Sponsors

McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, UFA, Carstar, Super 8 and Calgary Co-op are some of the companies that have either changed their marketing and sponsorship commitments or have pulled back entirely for this year’s Calgary Stampede — the first change of this nature since 2019.

The most noticeable and high profile departure is McDonald’s Canada as a “Champion” level sponsor.

Source: CBC.ca »

Vancouver Humane Society

A huge thanks to the Vancouver Humane Society who began documenting Stampede horse deaths and exposing its many cruelties. They stated before this year’s stampede:

Open quote

The majority of Canadians are opposed to rodeo; so why does a Canadian event marketing itself as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” continue to host rodeo events? 59% of Canadians are opposed to using animals in rodeo, and yet the Calgary Stampede continues to host cruel rodeo events year after year that cause animal suffering, stress, and even death.

Falkland Stampede

There will be no Falkland Stampede for a second consecutive year.

“Although the current state of this pandemic is moving in a positive direction, the expected provincial health orders come August will not allow for a large-scale event such as the stampede to occur,” organizers said earlier this month on Facebook.

The event is one of the oldest rodeos in B.C. and typically runs during the Victoria Day long weekend in May.

It was postponed in 2020 to dates in August and eventually cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, marking the first time in more than 100 years there was no stampede in Falkland.

Source: Kamloops This Week »

©FUND FOR HORSES

2 thoughts on “The horse torturing Calgary Stampede is back”

  1. There is something very seriously missing from a human being who tortures animals and puts them in harm’s way, esp. to the point where they could be maimed or killed, just to stroke his/her ego, or for entertainment. The people who attend and cheer are just as culpable as the ones administering these horrors and jeopardizing animals’ lives.

    Liked by 1 person

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