Saturday April 28, 2001
| Vol. 17 No. 21
rude, and socially unacceptable. Patriotic,
honorable, moral, all-American. Thatís
By Amy Williams,
Clovis News Staff Writer
-- "I really like cowboys..." the animal rights activist
said, "...But they should be arrested for what they do to animals."
More people are starting to think about the ethics we are teaching
our children with the sport of rodeo. Many communities are
joining in the chorus-line. "Cruelty for a buck"
read a sign carried by a protester outside the Calgary Stampede
to the Editor
"The next time you think we have to
abuse our animals in order to use them..." the rodeo announcer
said, ďtake a look at these.Ē
As he spoke, a gray bucking horse and her
foal galloped out from behind the chutes, circled the arena then
galloped away through an open gate. They looked healthy.
Clovis rodeo fans and cowboys say itís
impossible that they would abuse the animals they cherish as competitive
adversaries and admire for their strength and beauty.
The two sides are coming from such different
thinking about the ethical relationship between humans and animals
that they may never reach common ground.
At its most basic, the annual Spring
roundup, branding irons, bawling calves and cows was a way of
life in Clovis in its early days. By today's standards of living,
about all we have left of the early days is only the sport of
In these times, we are asked to disregard
our visceral awareness of suffering by other living beings. So,
for readers who still have respect for all living things, we readiy
admit that we are saddened to see a scared calf jerked from its
feet by a rope flung by a cowboy. We are infllamed when we see a
cowboy jump on a calf and wrestle it to the ground, tie three of
its legs togetherl. We are rooting for the helpless anmal, face-down
in that arena dirt, urine and manure.
But, shouldn't we be mindful that cowboys
are more often injured in rodeo events than are the animals? The
cowboys I talked to this week agree with that. But, the cows and
broncos in the rodeo pens seem to be saying to me, " If that
cowboy doesn't want to get hurt, well he can just decide to sit
it out. We animals are forced to endure pain and fight for life!"
It's a truism.
Worse yet, rodeo cowboys see pain as a
kind of honor or spiritual quest requiring cunning,
strength, luck, agility and manliness in the struggle to
overcome and subdue a powerful beast.
The pain cowboys and animals inflict upon
each other is clearly accepted by most rodeo enthusiasts as a sort
of prelim to more important things to follow, important things such
as beefsteak, beer and glory.
2001 Clovis Free Press. All rights reserved.
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