The Cruel Truth About The Rodeo

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This is not entertainment, this is cruelty.

Many rodeo events subject animals to significant discomfort and pain via:
Devices (spurs, electric prods, bucking straps) to aggravate or inflict pain, causing a more forceful exit of the chute to impress audiences.

Events such as roping, wrestling, and busting in which animals are violently jerked, flipped, etc., and frequently injured, sometimes fatally. These cases are likely under reported.

Transportation between events, as the Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) permits animals to be confined during transport for as long as 24 hours without food or water.

The federal Animal Welfare Act exempts rodeos from the protections it provides to animals. Some states exempt rodeos from their anti-cruelty statutes, while other states defer to PRCA regulations to judge whether animal cruelty has occurred in rodeos.

What Can You Do?

  • Ask local authorities to verify that proper rodeo permits have been obtained.
  • Demonstrate and distribute leaflets at the gates of the events.
  • Write letters to sponsors of the events and boycott their businesses.
  • Contact your local law enforcement agency or humane society and ask them to ensure rodeos follow local and state laws regarding the humane treatment of animals.
  • Lobby your representatives to institute a state or local ban on calf roping (this is an event in which cruelty is most easily documented). Since most rodeo circuits require calf roping, eliminating it can result in the overall elimination of rodeos.
  • Refer the public to anti-rodeo websites/resources and youtube videos (graphic) of animals harmed at rodeos.
  • Advocate for legislation mirroring bans in other cities and states


  • In 2009, the National Western Stock Show banned electric prods, and announced heftier fines for “jerk-downs”—the act of violently jerking a calf backward and roping the calf simultaneously.
  • Cheyenne Frontier Days and the Greeley Stampede have also banned electric prods.