The death of a horse on the opening night of Calgary Stampede was absolutely horrible. We must learn to do things better for the horses and for us proud Calgarians.
Here is an excerpt from “Stampede horse death due to ‘selective breeding’: Temple Grandin”
“Renowned American animal welfare advocate Temple Grandin says the death of a horse at the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races Friday evening is related to genetic problems stemming from breeding, and not the workings of the Stampede.
“The thoroughbred industry needs to address the issue of the legs being too weak,” Grandin told reporters just outside the Stampede grounds Saturday afternoon.
Too much selective breeding, she said, has made the racing animals more lean and muscular, but more susceptible to breaks.
“The Stampede has done everything they could do to prepare the track, to change the rules so the wagons are not smashing into each another.”
[…] Grandin, an animal science professor at Colorado State University, has spent her life working to improve the lives of animals at ranches, feedlots and slaughterhouses. Her mantra is that using animals for food is ethical, but animals should have a decent life. Fast food giants McDonald’s and Wendy’s have hired her for their animal welfare auditing programs.
[…] The first night of chuckwagon racing at the Calgary Stampede was marred when a horse broke its leg in the fifth race and had to be euthanized.
[…] The death comes during a year when the Stampede made a number of changes to the chuckwagon races and increased veterinary inspections to make the competition safer.
Grandin is visiting Calgary at the invitation of the University of Calgary and animal welfare professor Ed Pajor — who advises the Stampede through its Animal Care Advisory Panel. The university picked up the tab for her travel costs, but she’s not being paid by the Stampede.
She said while the Stampede is not directly responsible for the actions of the horse racing industry, it could “put pressure on the thoroughbred industry to do something about this.” No one from the horse racing breeding industry was immediately available for comment on Saturday.
She said she was generally pleased with the condition of both the bulls and horses she’s inspected while in Calgary.
“What amazed me is most of these bulls did not have the whites of the eyes showing, and they also weren’t pooping. Animals that poop and the whole butt gets covered with poop, that’s an animal that’s stressed out.”
She added she’s happy the Stampede has changed its rules regarding calf-roping, so the young animals are not as tightly jerked by riders.“
I respect Temple Grandin a lot because of her excellent work done over the years in trying to improve the welfare of animals. And the fact that she is not paid by Stampede also added to her credibility. Remember, Temple isn’t saying there isn’t a problem. There is, and it is a basic problem with “selective breeding” and it should be fixed.
In my opinion, we may not be able to control others but we can dictate and demand what happen in Calgary Stampede. We can decide for 2012, all the horses that are going to race in Calgary Stampede have to meet whatever “new” standard re “selective breeding” we set! Period. Horses that don’t meet our “new” standard won’t be allowed to race here. Money talks. Yes, Stampede’s money talks. And ultimately, our money, yes the people who buy tickets to go to Stampede have important voices too! We can and should pressure Calgary Stampede to do the right thing (e.g. re “selective breeding“).
I am not an expert in all this and I don’t want to be one. So, in my humble opinion, I think it makes sense to create an independent way to fund Prof Temple Grandin to help find and craft solutions to our problem here. Make sense?
Also check out Calgary CTV News report “Chuckwagon horse euthanized on the first night of Stampede” (with video), (emphasis added)
“Animal welfare advocate Temple Grandin is in Calgary to meet with Stampede officials to discuss the care of it’s livestock. She maintains injuries like the one in Friday’s chuckwagon race are a result of selective breeding and not dangerous race conditions.
“The Stampede has done everything it can to prepare the track and change the rules,” says Grandin. “Wagons are not smashing into each other and they are not hitting the rail. It is a genetic problem and it needs to be corrected.“”