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Reader Input: Rodeo people respect animals

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The recent letter from Heidi Zacher (“Rodeo has nothing to do with abuse,” Reader Input, May 1) reflects perfectly my feeling about Dr. Wayne Bartz’s letter suggesting rodeo belongs in the dustbin and that it’s somehow abusive to animals (“Rodeo belongs in the dustbin,” Reader Input, April 28).
Our children spent their growing years in 4-H raising pigs, my husband has sold ranches and been associated with agriculture for over 50 years, and I worked for a large veterinary medical association for many years.
At no time was I ever aware of abuse by those associated with animals. Animals are the lifeblood of these individuals and they treat them with the respect and care you’d give any creature that provides you with a living.
More, the problem is the individual who adopts or purchases an animal on a whim, with no regard for responsible pet ownership that goes with that decision.
Most pets are a 10-year commitment. Many people fail to consider this when taking on that responsibility. Cost of care includes spaying/neutering, medical care, feeding and nurturing, grooming, etc. It also includes responsible divestment if necessary, finding a new home or euthanasia when necessary; certainly not dropping the animal in a rural area where they are left to fend for themselves in the wild.
Many who despise rodeos have never been to a rodeo, never observed the “backstage” activities to care for the animals, never talked to the owners of the stock who would not abuse their animals that provide them not only with income, but a source of pride when showing their champion bulls, bucking horses and other livestock.
Yes, rodeo is a Western tradition. Participants include entire families, family livestock, training by family members and hired hands.
We should be proud of our heritage and pleased to share it with those who don’t live it. It’s also like making sure families understand where their food in the supermarket comes from. Be proud of our heritage, don’t insist on doing away with it or hiding it behind unfounded opinions by so-called animal rights organizations. Real animal rights involve responsible pet ownership (and caring owners).
Rosanne Van Cleve, Auburn