Media Releases

Deadliest Stampede In a Decade Violates Animal Cruelty Laws

CALGARY – National animal law organization Animal Justice is demanding an investigation into illegal rodeo cruelty at the Calgary Stampede. Six horses were killed this year after being forced to compete in dangerous chuckwagon races, including three on Sunday night. The 2019 Stampede has been the deadliest one for animals in a decade, with this level of carnage not seen since 2010.

Horses are killed in Stampede chuckwagon races nearly every single year. According to an analysis by the Vancouver Humane Society, the six horses killed this year bring the total to 105 animals who have lost their lives in Stampede rodeo events since 1986.

Yet no rodeo event or participant has faced prosecution in Canada since 1950—nearly 70 years.

“Alberta law makes it illegal to inflict unreasonable distress on animals, and there are no exemptions for rodeos,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “Nearly every single year, horses suffer horrific injuries and die in the ‘half mile of hell’ chuckwagon races. It is entirely foreseeable that these horses will experience distress and death, all for the trivial sake of entertainment.

“Law enforcement—including the Calgary Police, Calgary Humane Society, and Alberta SPCA—urgently need to investigate and bring these animal welfare concerns before the courts. Rodeo events are not above the law and should no longer be given a free pass to kill animals.”

Rodeo events are opposed by virtually every animal protection organization in the world because they subject animals to fear, pain, suffering, distress, and the risk of serious injury and death. Chuckwagon races are particularly deadly, and have been responsible for the vast majority of deaths at the Calgary Stampede.

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.


For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
[email protected]

Header image by Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals