Horse Killed at 2023 Calgary Stampede After Falling in Chuckwagon Races

Animal Justice is calling for animal cruelty charges after a horse was killed on Friday, July 14 after being forced to compete in a chuckwagon race at the Calgary. The horse was on a team belonging to 2022 chuckwagon champion Kris Molle, and was killed after being injured in a Rangeland Derby race that evening. According to a witness, the horse appeared to collapse after crossing the finish line.

Chuckwagon races are a reckless, high-risk rodeo event where teams of horses pull wagons around a figure eight track. Known as the the “half-mile of hell”, the chuckwagon races result in dead horses nearly every year. According to statistics compiled by the Vancouver Humane Society, over 100 animals have died at the Calgary Stampede since 1986.

In 2019, the Stampede had its deadliest year on record when six horses died in chuckwagon races. The Stampede was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, and in 2021 there were no chuckwagon races, with organizers citing safety concerns due to the lack of a racing season in the lead up to the event. The chuckwagon races resumed in 2022, and another horse died—despite changes to the races that Stampede organizers said were aimed at improving safety. That’s because there’s simply no safe way to hold a dangerous, deadly event.

Rodeo competitors and organizers know full well that every year, horses will almost certainly die from horrific injuries in the chuckwagon races. That’s why Animal Justice is calling on local authorities including the Calgary Humane Society, Calgary Police, and Alberta SPCA to finally hold this event accountable by bringing charges before the courts. Rodeos aren’t exempt from animal cruelty laws, and should no longer be given a free pass to kill horses for cheap thrills.

Rodeo is considered so cruel that it has been banned in jurisdictions around the world, including Vancouver, the UK, and many American states and cities.

Animal Justice is asking members of the public to join us in calling for an end to cruel and dangerous rodeo events at the Calgary Stampede.

Banner photo: Jo-Anne McArthur | We Animals Media