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Reader Input: Rodeo has nothing to do with abuse

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My daughter, Adelaide, was the little girl in the photo that Dr. (Wayne R.) Bartz found so revolting (“Rodeo belongs in the dustbin,” Reader Input, April 28).
Clearly, Dr. Bartz has never attended the rodeo and has never seen the pride and excitement on the faces of the 40-plus kids who sign up for the event every year, nor has he been able to see the love and care that goes into raising the animals used in the rodeo.
These “abused” animals provided by Four Star Rodeo are better taken care of than a large majority of the animals I drive by on my daily commute which are owned by private citizens. The participants in these rodeos depend on the well-being of these animals for their livelihood and go to great lengths to care for them.
Rodeos are a glimpse into American history and every event at the rodeo is tied to the skills needed in a bygone era when farms and ranches where owned by real American families and cowboys were responsible for the day to day care of the herd.
I would only hope that Dr. Bartz is a vegetarian, as the real modern day animal abusers are big businesses running factory farms, places that are so dark and twisted, that their lobbyists are proposing legislation banning citizens from photographing the real abuse animals face before becoming our chicken wings, steaks and leather jackets.
My “abused” child has been taught from an early age how to care for animals on our farm. She is solely responsible for raising and caring for our chicken flock at 7 years old and is secretary of her local 4H group.
Almost every animal on our farm has been rescued from local shelters and rescue groups, including my off-the-track thoroughbred, who was one step away from being sent to Mexico for slaughter.
My husband and I have taken great care to shield her from the real abuses that children face throughout the world such as homelessness, starvation and human trafficking. Having her ride a sheep at the rodeo is no more abusive than her riding a bicycle through city streets.
The citizens of Auburn should be very proud of having an 80-year-rodeo tradition, I know I am.
Heidi Zacher, Greenwood