Monday, April 25


"Eleven-year-old Kristin Close cherishes the horse figurines in her room and tries to go riding every week, where she enjoys brushing and stroking the graceful animals. So when she went with her family and friends to the PRCA Rodeo last weekend, the last thing she wanted to see was a bucking bronco snap its leg and hobble bloodied all over the arena. The incident occurred during Saturday's bareback riding event at the Auburn Wild West Stampede when a 4-year-old mare named Wrangler Gold broke its leg and was euthanized."

This article from California's Auburn Journal is OK, and is obviously trying to put an anecdotal, personal spin on the horrific abuse that is patently obvious in the institution of rodeos, but it has typical mainstream-journalism problems: "While the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association says their events are humane, many animal rights groups think it is a brutal custom that costs animals their lives." This is the classic "on the other hand-ism," where two perspectives are presented as though equally meriting consideration. On one side we have a claim, unsupported by any facts, from the animal exploiters. On the other, we have what AR groups "think." But what is it that they "think?" Does the story not show it costing an animal its life? Are we to believe this is the first animal this has happened to? And if not, does that not make it, in fact, a "brutal custom?"

Meanwhile, rodeo spokeswoman Karen Spencer maintains this spectacle of animal domination and degradation is wholesome family entertainment: "Rodeos are wonderful family events, and any time you have a sporting event, there's a risk of accidents, whether it's a football game or at a racetrack," she said. Wow, good point, except for one salient detail - anyone who's involved in a potentially fatal accident at a football game or a racetrack has chosen to be there. When an animal is forced to perform, resulting in its death, that's what's more accurately called "a travesty."