Animal Justice Calls for Investigation After Horse Hit in Face at Calgary Stampede

Animal Justice has filed a legal complaint with the Calgary Humane Society, calling for an animal cruelty investigation after shocking video footage emerged, showing a horse being repeatedly hit in the face during a Calgary Stampede bronc riding event on July 8, 2022.

The disturbing video, which aired on Sportsnet, shows a horse refusing to leave the gate to go into the open arena during the competition. Saddle bronc rider Lucas Macza sat on the back of the horse while a member of his team struck the horse over and over in the face, in an effort to force her to move into the ring. In the video, the horse appears to be panicked and repeatedly tries to move her face out of striking range while the man continues to smack her.

It’s against national and provincial animal cruelty laws to cause animals suffering and distress. Rodeo events aren’t exempt from provincial animal cruelty laws in Alberta, and hitting animals in the face is an unnecessary, unreasonable violent act that harms animals.

Calgary Stampede Rodeo is a Spectacle of Abuse

The Calgary Stampede rodeo events are notorious for causing animals pain, fear, and even death. Sensitive horses, cows, and calves are lassoed, wrestled, or roped to the ground in cruel bucking, wrestling and roping competitions.

Over 106 animals have died in Stampede events since 1986, according to the Vancouver Humane Society. Horses suffer heart attacks or break legs and are euthanized, and calves have bones broken as they are thrown in rope events. The Calgary Stampede’s deadliest event, the Rangeland Derby chuckwagon races, was brought back this year, even though six horses were killed the last time the event took place in 2019.

Despite the carnage, no rodeo event or participant has faced prosecution in Canada since 1950—over 70 years.

It’s time for law enforcement to finally crack down on animal cruelty at rodeo events. The city of Calgary needs to outlaw chuckwagon racing, on grounds that it is an exceedingly dangerous spectacle of cruelty, with horses almost guaranteed to die in the deadly races every year.

Please tell the Calgary mayor that the Stampede doesn’t need rodeo events to flourish, and most guests don’t patronize rodeo. Stampede concerts, carnival rides, games, and parades already make it a great celebration—no cruelty required. It’s time to stamp out rodeo cruelty for good!

Banner: Screenshot from Sportsnet broadcast.