Media Releases

Groups call on Manitoba’s Chief Veterinary Officer to Stop Bull Riding Events that Violate Animal Cruelty Laws

BRANDON—National animal law organization Animal Justice and Manitoba Animal Save have submitted a request urging law enforcement authorities to step in and prevent violations of animal cruelty laws at this month’s Professional Bull Riders (PBR) events in Dauphin and Brandon. The groups say the use of flank straps, electric prods, and spurs likely violate Manitoba’s Animal Care Act and must not be allowed. 

The PBR events, set to take place in Dauphin on May 24, 2024 and Brandon on May 25, 2024, are advertised as “the toughest sport on dirt”, during which “courageous” bull riders “face off against” their bull “opponents”. During these events, flank straps (or “bucking straps”), are tightened around bulls prior to their release from the chute, applying pressure, and often significant pain and discomfort, to their sensitive underbellies in order to make the animals buck more violently. Metal spurs attached to riders’ boots may also be used to force the animals to buck, putting them at risk of back and leg injuries. Electric prods may even be used on bulls in the chute, causing them to run and buck dramatically in response to intense fear and pain. 

“Federal and provincial laws are clear: It’s illegal to cause distress and suffering to animals,” said Kaitlyn Mitchell, Winnipeg-based lawyer and director of legal advocacy with Animal Justice. “Bull riding events are not exempt from our animal cruelty laws. If the PBR goes ahead with this cruel event, using antiquated tools like flank straps, spurs, or electric prods, it is our expectation that organizers will be held to account for any violations of the Animal Care Act. Ultimately, tools like these should be banned in Manitoba.”

Before bulls are released from the chute in bucking competitions they are also often kicked and subject to tail twisting or other painful treatment. Because of the fear and distress that these events cause to bulls, as well as associated risks of physical disorders and catastrophic injuries, organizations including the Winnipeg Humane Society and Vancouver Humane Society have consistently spoken out against them.

“Animal suffering should never be a form of entertainment,” said Danae Tonge of Manitoba Animal Save. “It’s time for Manitoba to end cruel and outdated rodeo practices that exploit and harm animals, including the use of flank straps, spurs, and electric prods, once and for all. Cruelty is not a sport.” 

Because of concerns about animal welfare, tools like flank straps, metal spurs, and electric prods – and in some cases rodeo events in general – have been banned in jurisdictions including Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Baltimore, the State of Ohio, and the United Kingdom, as well as in Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Port Moody, and North Vancouver. 

A copy of the letter sent to law enforcement officials can be found here.


Josh Lynn
Public Relations Manager
[email protected]

Kaitlyn Mitchell
Director of Legal Advocacy
[email protected]

Danae Tonge
Manitoba Animal Save
[email protected]