Petition calls for cancellation of select Manitoba Stampede events

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On the eve of one of the province’s most popular summer gatherings, the Winnipeg Humane Society is calling on the Manitoba Stampede to cancel some of its animal-involved attractions.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/07/2022 (203 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

On the eve of one of the province’s most popular summer gatherings, the Winnipeg Humane Society is calling on the Manitoba Stampede to cancel some of its animal-involved attractions.

“Tie-down calf-roping and mutton-busting events are outdated and inhumane forms of entertainment that cause juvenile animals to unnecessarily experience distress and potential injury,” said Brittany Semeniuk, animal welfare specialist with the humane society.

“These events are increasingly out of step with the values of Manitobans,” she added Wednesday.

IAN FROESE / BRANDON SUN FILES “Tie-down calf-roping and mutton-busting events are outdated and inhumane forms of entertainment that cause juvenile animals to unnecessarily experience distress and potential injury,” said Brittany Semeniuk, animal welfare specialist with the humane society.

“The Manitoba Stampede concerts, midway, concessions and parades already make it a great celebration — there is no need for these types of (animal-involved) events to exist in a modern, humane society.”

The organization started a petition in support of its request — including the suspension of chuckwagon races — and had received 1,100 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.

“What we’re seeing from our supporters, stakeholders and just from society in general, is that a lot of people don’t view events like calf roping the way that they might have a few decades ago. A lot of people in Manitoba and across Canada are joining us in speaking up against calf roping because they don’t find that an entertaining source of public amusement anymore,” Semeniuk said.

The Free Press contacted Manitoba Stampede organizers for comment Wednesday, but didn’t receive a response.

The professional rodeo (an annual event since 1964) is set to be held in Morris, from Friday to Sunday.

Kaitlyn Mitchell, a Winnipeg-based lawyer with Animal Justice, said rodeo events are not exempt from federal or provincial animal cruelty laws.

“It is our expectation that the stampede’s organizers will be held to account for any violations,” she said. “We were really disappointed to see that the Manitoba Stampede is planning to hold a number of events that cause animals extreme fear and distress and put them at risk of injury and even death. We’re hoping that law enforcement authorities and the organizers will take action and bring the stampede into the current century.”

Despite petitioning for certain events to be cancelled, Mitchell said she understands the stampede is an honoured tradition in the province.

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Brittany Semeniuk, animal welfare specialist with the humane society: "Tie-down calf-roping and mutton-busting events are outdated and inhumane forms of entertainment that cause juvenile animals to unnecessarily experience distress and potential injury."

“We do not want to see the Manitoba Stampede cancelled as a whole. I appreciate that there is a long-standing tradition… (but) there are many ways to have fun that do not involve animal cruelty. We’ve singled out the specific events that we have concerns about… (while) we really hope people will get out and have fun and enjoy the community in Morris.”

Semeniuk pointed to the death of a horse at last week’s Calgary Stampede, following injuries it suffered in a chuckwagon race, as a consequence of such events.

“This year, the Calgary Stampede made an initiative to try and further reduce injuries to their animals. They put measures in place to try and prevent it. No matter how many regulations are in place, there’s still always going to be risk and injury to these animals — and that’s something we are trying to bring awareness to,” she said.

bryce.hunt@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 8:31 PM CDT: Adds second photo.

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