I believe that rodeos are not only animal abuse, but they are also child abuse because they teach children that it is OK to be cruel to animals.
Most rodeo events rely on creating a stressful environment and rough handing to make the animals run faster or buck harder. Rodeo audiences get excited when the animals seem rough and wild.
In reality, these are naturally very calm animals. They are made to appear wild by using cruel practices. According to the ASPCA, calves may have their tails twisted before leaving the chute, while horses and bulls are forced to wear tight bucking straps.
Most riders wear metal spurs that dig into the flanks of the animal to further aggravate them. Bulls are frequently given a painful electric shock, causing extremely feral behavior. While some rodeo association rules advise against the use of electric prods and other such cruel handling methods, these guidelines are typically voluntary.
Injuries to animals, including sprains and bruises, broken limbs, ripped tendons, broken necks and even death occur. The worst injuries happen to young animals, such as calves in roping and wrestling events.
I agree with Dr. (Wayne) Bartz in his letter (“Rodeo belongs in the dustbin,” Reader Input, April 28), that what children learn at a rodeo is that it is OK to mistreat animals if it is all in the name of fun.
LEE ANN CARVER, student, Auburn