Rodeos can consist of various events, including calf or steer roping, steer wrestling and bucking events, where the contestant tries to stay on a bucking horse or bull. All of these events can cause severe injuries to the animals involved. Even the gentlest horse or bull will buck when subjected to the type of flank strap that is placed on bulls and broncos at rodeos. Flank straps are tightly cinched near the animal’s abdominal organs and pinch the animal’s groin or genitals to cause them to buck. Electric prods, caustic ointments and whips are often used to irritate and enrage the animals prior to their performances.
Rodeos are a tradition above all in the United States and Mexico. They comprise different events with wild steers and bulls. People who practice this activity are called "cowboys" and are considered to be very brave for their risky engagement with these violent and aggressive animal.
Rodeos are practiced since the nineteenth century and there are a number of championships and competitions, sponsored by big companies like Coca-Cola.
For example, bareback riding or bull riding. To score points, or get the applause of the audience, the participant has to ride a bronco or a bull for at least 8 seconds in a row holding on to a rope with a handhold wrapped around the animal. Another event is tie-down roping, which consists of roping a baby calf, then slamming the stunned animal to the ground and tying 3 of the calf's legs together.
Only by reading this description, one can imagine and be sure that the animals do not enjoy these practices, but indeed, suffer significant injuries, wounds caused by abrasion and even death in some cases. Most the time this information is published anonymously, but there are still some reporters who are willing to expose the truth and draw attention to animal cruelty, even though they are risking to be threatened by the mafia and other corrupt players that have an interest in maintaining a good image of rodeos. Check out this link, by SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness ) to read their reports.
The Chilean rodeo is different from the rodeo found in North America and has a history of its own that dates back some 400 years. Two riders on horses called huasos, riding laps in an arena, have to stop a steer by driving the animal against a wall. Formerly they used machetes and hit the animal indiscriminately. Today these gruesome techniques are supposedly regulated. Nevertheless, these events are still causing unnecessary harassment to both steers and horses, who receive the blows of the steers that try to defend themselves. The problems of this activity is not only the fact that animals suffer unnecessarily, involuntarily and without the possibility of defense, but also the many people that get injured by wanting to be in the spotlight and thus actively participate. Another big problem, of course, is the high level of corruption in the rodeo industry.
There are hundreds of legitimate sports people can practice that need great courage and endurance, and do not involve the use of animals. The argument that it is a tradition and traditions must be kept, falls of its own weight, however when we start comparing it with gladiators, the ablation of girls and slavery... We must evolve by defending animal rights, and promoting sensitivity towards any living being and non-violence. We must put an end to cruel activities such as rodeos.