ALDF is suing the California Rodeo Salinas and their head vet Tim Eastman on behalf of SHARK for ‘failing to report animal injuries to the state veterinary medical board, as required under California law.’
According to footage provided by SHARK, 41 animals were injured during the past 2 years, yet the rodeo only reported 4 injuries in the Livestock Injury Reports.
“California law requires the reporting of rodeo animal injuries,” says founder and president of SHARK Steve Hindi. “The intent was to make rodeos transparent. Instead, the law has not been enforced, but rather, manipulated to make rodeos appear harmless.”
“California law recognizes that rodeos endanger the animals who are forced to participate, which is why the law requires veterinarians to report animal injuries,” said ALDF executive director Stephen Wells. “Without transparency, groups such as ALDF and SHARK cannot hold rodeos accountable for the suffering they cause. This lawsuit is intended to change that.”
Eastman defended the rodeo saying that if SHARK showed the entire unedited video people would see how after a minute the animals are back to normal and fine, with the exception of those reported.
“I’ve been the veterinarian out there for about 10 years and I’m always amazed at how well the rodeo livestock is cared for. They’re fed the best quality hay. They get all the veterinary care they need right away,” Eastman said to the Californian.
“They’re very valuable and that’s how the stock contractors make a living, it’s in their best interest to provide the best stress-free environment as they possibly can. We only use the best stock contractors that are available. That’s always been the case and it always will be.”
The California Rodeo Salinas is the biggest rodeo in the state and one of the biggest in the country, drawing crowds of about 50,000 each summer. Events in the annual summer rodeo include steer wrestling, bull riding, calf roping, and team roping.
According to SHARK, there are some 5000 rodeos held annually in the US, only about one-third of which are professionally sanctioned. Many animals are injured and some killed in rodeos. Injuries may include sprains, broken bones, muscle pulls, saddle blisters, spur and flank strap wounds.
“Anyone with a heart knows it’s wrong to clothesline a baby animal, body slam it to the ground, tie its legs so it can’t move, and drag it by the neck. If this were done to a puppy or kitten, the offender would understandably be charged with a crime, and likely be jailed. In rodeos, however, it’s called calf roping, and supporters claim it’s a sport. But the abuse of baby cows is just one of rodeo’s cruelties,” said SHARK on their website.