With all the celebrations going on around Santa Barbara this week to celebrate Old Spanish Days, I fail to see the need for a rodeo. Parades, music, mercados, food, drink, tours, and all kinds of activities keep the tourists coming. Why then do we continue to allow such an event that for the most part glorifies the cruel nature of what some call “sport”? There are many aspects of a rodeo that show the prowess of the rider and his or her horse, the skill of riding as one with the animal. But throwing a rope around a calf running at full speed for its life, seeing its entire body yanked into the air as the rope tightens around its little neck, then a man jumping on top of it and tying its legs together is undeniably cruel!
It doesn’t take a high school degree to see the pain and anguish in the calf’s face! You call this fun? Why is “fun” at an animal’s expense okay in this town full of highly educated, highly paid, progressive residents? We are better than that—or are we? Then there is that “tradition” of bull riding and bronco riding. You have to be blind to not see the cruelty in this event. Men and boys out there, lets tie a strap tightly around your genitals and see how you react! If that doesn’t make you squirm, they can always use the electric cattle prod to shock you into kicking to get it off.
We don’t live in the 1800s anymore where taming a horse for riding might be necessary. Even then I’m sure they weren’t about to aggravate their animals by putting straps on their genitals. This is how far we have gone from the real cowboys of old. Some call this “entertainment.” I call it animal abuse and definitely “the shame of Fiesta.”