Your lighthearted portrayal of the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo in “No clowning around” (May 29) appears to be a public relations piece to counter animal welfare concerns. Rodeo animals receive nothing close to royal treatment, and claiming that the animals are bred to buck is ignoring the tools of the trade: electric prods, spurs, and flank straps, which are used to cause bucking. Regardless of an animal’s worth, this is a game of torment directed toward normally docile animals in the pursuit of money and prestige.
It is common for animals to be injured in rodeos. A veterinarian who worked in a slaughterhouse for 30 years regularly observed that discarded rodeo animals had extensive bruising, broken bones, and punctured lungs and gallons of free blood accumulated under detached skin. Injured and broken necks are also common. Of course it is not uncommon for animals to die at a rodeo. Rules and enforcement are evidently inadequate to prevent harm to the animals.
It is deplorable that rodeos are considered entertainment. When society is plagued by excessive violence, we need to move away from deliberate orchestrations of violence and cruelty. For a more civilized society, reconsider the rodeo.
-- Suzie Castle - Los Osos