CALGARY—National animal law organization Animal Justice is calling for an animal cruelty investigation after a horse was killed Thursday night when forced to compete in the notorious chuckwagon races at the Calgary Stampede.
The organization is also calling on the city of Calgary 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.
“The Stampede organizers and racers know full well that horses will almost certainly die from horrific injuries in the ‘half mile of hell’ chuckwagon races,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “Animal Justice is calling on the Calgary Humane Society, Calgary Police, and Alberta SPCA to investigate this latest death, and bring charges before the courts. Rodeos aren’t exempt from animal cruelty laws, and should no longer be given a free pass to abuse animals for cheap thrills.
“The Stampede went ahead last year without the chuckwagon races, proving that inflicting this type of serious abuse and death on innocent horses is not necessary to holding a successful Stampede celebration.”
This is the first year that chuckwagon races have been held at the Calgary Stampede since 2019, when six horses died—one of the deadliest years ever. According to tracking done by the Vancouver Humane Society, at least 107 animals have been killed in Stampede rodeo events since 1986. Yet no rodeo event at the Stampede has ever faced prosecution.
The Stampede was cancelled in 2020, 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. A smaller chuckwagon event at a rodeo in Red Deer, Alberta, still resulted in the death of a horse in July, 2021.
Rodeo is considered so cruel that it has been banned in jurisdictions around the world, including the City of Vancouver, the United Kingdom, and many American states and cities.
Animal Justice is asking members of the public to sign our petition and join us in calling for an end to cruel and dangerous rodeo events at the Calgary Stampede.