Animal rights groups speak out against steer death
Published Thursday, July 11, 2013 5:08AM MDT Last Updated Thursday, July 11, 2013 6:33PM MDT
Animal rights groups in Vancouver and Calgary are calling for the steer wrestling event to be suspended, calling it a 'dangerous circus act'.
A steer was injured during the final round of the steer wrestling event on Wednesday afternoon.
Fans knew something was wrong when the steer failed to get back onto its feet.
Zane Hankel, from Medicine Hat, said the run felt normal and he originally thought that the animal had its horn stuck in the dirt.
However, once he understood the animal was seriously injured, he held the animal down and called for help, prompting three veterinarians to rush to the animal’s aid.
The vets determined the animal sustained critical injuries to its neck and could not be saved. They made the decision for the steer to be euthanized.
Organizers said they will be reviewing video of the event to determine what happened.
“We will be looking at the video. We will be looking at every circumstance associated with it, to determine if there were any contributing factors and see if there is any way we can anticipate those factors for future situations and eliminate those,” said Bonni Clark, spokesperson for the Calgary Stampede.
The Stampede says this is a rare occurrence and that more than 1,000 steers have competed in the event over the past 10 years.
Only one other steer has been fatally injured during that time.
The Calgary Humane Society released a statement shortly after learning of the incident, calling the event a 'cruel and dangerous circus act' and emphasizing their desire to have it ended.
However, the society steps back from being overly critical of the rodeo, taking a more conciliatory approach in which they're allowed to have access to check on the animals on the Stampede grounds.
Vancouver's Humane Society is taking a more hard lined approach, calling for the suspension and independent review of the event.
Peter Fricker, spokesperson for the Vancouver Humane Society, says the review will determine if the sport can be made humane and safe.
He says animals should not have to suffer and die 'just to entertain a crowd'.
"If these events are so hard on the animals that it can kill them, it's obvious they are suffering pain and stress," he said, adding that steer wrestling has no historical connection to ranching and was invented for rodeos.
"It has nothing to do with agricultural heritage," said Fricker. "It's just a cruel and dangerous circus act."
The Vancouver Humane Society has compiled a list of animal deaths at the Calgary Stampede Rodeo and Chuckwagon Races.
(With files from CTV BC)