Media Releases

Animal Justice Calls on WestJet to End Support for Stampede Cruelty

CALGARY—As yet another edition of the controversial annual event gets underway, Animal Justice is calling on WestJet to end its sponsorship of the Calgary Stampede rodeo.

Since 1986, over 100 animals have died in Stampede rodeo events. Horses suffer heart attacks, break legs, and are euthanized, while calves have bones broken as they are tackled in roping events.

Despite public outcry and the evident suffering inflicted upon the animals at the centre of these events, WestJet continues its support, sponsoring the 2024 bull riding competitions. 

During bull riding events, bulls are compelled to buck through the use of hard metal spurs and flank straps specifically designed to cause discomfort. Combined with the unnatural sensation of a rider gripping tightly to their back in a loud, and chaotic environment in front of thousands of noisy spectators, bulls endure significant fear and distress. The unnatural bucking behaviour also puts them at risk of injury.

“This is a clear-cut opportunity for WestJet to walk its talk and prove it is an accountable corporate citizen,” said Kaitlyn Mitchell, Director of Legal Advocacy with Animal Justice. “WestJet’s sponsorship should instead focus on concerts and the other many fun, cruelty-free entertainment and cultural activities offered at the Stampede. WestJet could continue to support the community and uphold its commitment to ethical values.”

Animal Justice has launched an online action page allowing Canadians to express their disappointment with WestJet’s support of Stampede rodeo cruelty.

Due to concerns about animal welfare, tools like flank straps, metal spurs—and in some cases rodeo events in general—have been banned in jurisdictions including Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and the United Kingdom, as well as in Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Port Moody, and North Vancouver.


Josh Lynn
Public Relations Manager
[email protected]