I came across this in one of the Horse Groups! . . . It really impressed me ~ it's exactly what I want to do! . . . It sounds like an AWESOME ~ and VERY IMPORTANT ~ ENDEAVOR for our times (not to mention for Abused or Abandoned Horses), as well as an amazing resource for Children! . . .
Please check out the LINK below to the VIDEO & WEBSITE! . . .Also, please CROSS-POST! . . . THX!
My name is Kelly Lynn, I am the founder of The Ultimate Gift Foundation, a non-profit org. created to bring spiritual education and programs to children and their families, helping them to come into their true potential. We will be rescuing horses and teaching them how to be "Equine Therapists" (if they want to be a therapist) so they can live in a peaceful sanctuary while helping children heal and thrive.
There is stunning news on the rodeo battlefront. We haven't been in touch with you for a number of weeks, but when that happens it is always because we are simply too bogged down in the trenches, and that certainly has been the case this time too.
At the end July, SHARK's small team, with some help from first time volunteers, took on two of the biggest rodeos in the world simultaneously, and the video documentation obtained will cause major damage to the rodeo world for many years to come. The rodeo targets were the infamous Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo (dubbed "The Daddy of 'em All,") in Cheyenne, WY, and the National High School Finals Rodeo in Springfield, IL.
To give you an idea of the enormity of this task, the Cheyenne Rodeo was composed of seventeen performances over twelve days, most of them starting at 7:00 a.m., while the Springfield High School Finals Rodeo were thirteen performances over seven days. As if that weren't enough, part of the Cheyenne team then attended one performance in Dodge City, Kansas on the way home.
Unprecedented Legal Action Against a Rodeo
Our efforts against the high school rodeo finals began in the weeks before either rodeo even started. At the suggestion and with the involvement of Illinois animal law attorney, Cherie Travis, SHARK filed a lawsuit against Johnson and Jordan Rodeo under the Illinois Consumer Fraud law. Johnson and Jordan is the rodeo company that produced the 2006 National High School Finals Rodeo.
This action followed the outright obstruction of the most corrupt department in Illinois government, the Department of Agriculture. Under the direction of bureaucratic leech Charles Hartke, the Department, after initially denying the abuses documented by SHARK investigators at the 2006 High School Rodeo Finals, conducted a phoney "investigation" to ward off public furor over the obvious and illegal cruelty. Department of Agriculture personnel waited for months to pass before turning over "investigation" results to the Sangamon Attorney that failed to identify even a single suspect!
Efforts by SHARK to continue the investigation have been obstructed by these corrupt "public officials." The Department is refusing our efforts to find the criminals that the government is protecting. I have read about the supposed blatant corruption of government officials in some third world countries, but this is as blatant an example of corruption you will find anywhere.
This outrageous behavior is par for the course for the embattled administration of democratic governor Rod Blagojevich, who has been the biggest imaginable disappointment for animal protectors. We can only hope Blagojevich, as in the case of his republican predecessor George Ryan, will find his next office to be a cell in a federal penitentiary.
Our lawsuit against Johnson and Jordan asked a DuPage County Circuit Court judge to impose restrictions on the rodeo company to prevent the abuses that occurred in 2006. Under pressure from the court, Johnson and Jordan's attorney entered into an agreed order in which it promised that rodeo participants, "shall not utilize an electric prod, sharp metal objects to spike or stab animals and not twist the tails of the stock animals. To our knowledge, this is the first time ever that a court order has been imposed on a rodeo contractor to stop rodeo animal abuse. The lawsuit was very well-covered in a two-part story by the local FOX TV News affiliate in Chicago, as well as the State Journal-Register, other Springfield media and by other media throughout Illinois.
This horse is desperately trying to escape its abusers and nearly killing himself in the process.
In its reply, Johnson and Jordan admit that there was cruelty at the rodeo, and claim that they stopped it when they learned of it. This is mighty interesting, because in newspaper interviews, National High School Rodeo Association Executive Director Kent Sturman repeatedly denied that there was any cruelty at the rodeo, and even claimed that an internal review exonerated everyone involved! If there's one thing you can depend on from rodeo people besides their cruelty to animals, it's that they will habitually lie about it.
The Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, the Daddy of All Rodeo Cruelty & Cowardice
Due to my position as Plaintiff in the lawsuit against Johnson and Jordan Rodeo, my departure for Cheyenne was delayed and I missed two critical days of calf roping.
Fortunately, Janet Enoch and my younger daughter were there, and their documentation proved to be absolutely invaluable. On the first day alone, these two strong women videotaped four calves who were so brutally abused that their broken bodies had to be sledded out of the rodeo arena.
This calf has his back broken, see him sledded out below.
A couple others were given CPR in the arena to revive them after their horrendous abuse. All of this is on tape so the history of the 2007 Cheyenne Rodeo shall include this terrible legacy.
I joined them in Cheyenne for the third day, which was steer busting, the most deadly event in rodeo, there were more injuries that provided more graphic rodeo images to use against them. Then the skies opened up, and the rains turned the rodeo arena into a mud mess that ranged from a swamp to a running river, causing even more issues for the animals.
As the rodeo continued, so did the injuries, including more hurt calves and horses, along with some injured and dying steers.
This is one of many dying victims that had to be sledded out, while 'trick riders' attempt to distract the crowd.
Later in the week, one injured calf was being dragged out, and rodeo announcer Justin McKee proudly and falsely claimed that this was the first time the injury sled had to be used. We couldn't believe the blatant lie. We are currently preparing a video presentation for our ShameOnCheyenne.com web site, as well as YouTube.com, to expose McKee's incredible falsehood. It's just one more example of the Rodeo Mafia's utter disregard for the truth.
Perhaps the most incredible aspect of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo was its continuing tradition of shocking horses as a way to make them appear wild. The rodeo has been exposed for that very thing for the past two years! We frankly did not think they would be so stupid as to do it again, but we were wrong! Fortunately, SHARK's cameras were waiting for them, and our documentation has nailed these animal abusers to the wall! (See Video)
Horses NEVER supposed to be shocked and especially not in the face or neck.
In the duration of the rodeo, over a dozen animals were injured and/or killed and dozens of horses were shocked. Most incredibly, the "winner" of the Saddlebronc ("bucking horse") event knowingly rode a horse that was shocked (See Video) demonstrating just how worthless and vile a rodeo "championship" truly is. Already there has been articles in the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, and the Casper Star-Tribune newspapers, and with plans in the works to address the Cheyenne city council in a few weeks, the fireworks are just beginning.
Already as I write this, we have three YouTube.com videos posted exposing the abuse and perversion of The Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo and just how much rodeo people love the animals. One especially vivid video captures a caring kick in the ribs that contestant Vin Fisher gives to his fellow "animal athlete". (See Video) You can also watch for more Cheyenne Frontier Days videos to be posted soon!
I could write a book about what happened in Cheyenne, and I'll certainly write a good deal more in the weeks to come, but we have to move on to our other major rodeo target, the National High School Rodeo Finals in Springfield, Illinois.
CRUELTY, CORRUPTION, SCANDAL IN SPRINGFIELD, IL
With an unprecedented first agreed courtorder in place denying the use of electric prods, sharp metal objects and tail twisting- rodeo workers and contestants had a real problem on their hands. It wasn't long at all before the animals began to figure out that, for whatever reason, they weren't being brutalized the same way. This resulted in many horses and even bulls stalling in their chutes and refusing to "perform." This was even more proof that rodeo animals are NOT "Born to Buck," as rodeo masses claim, but rather that they are Abused to Buck, just like the abused dogs in dog fights.
Obviously, this horse is NOT "Born to Buck" anymore than the rest of them are!
In desperation, rodeo personnel began putting ropes around the necks of horses and literally dragging them out of the chutes the second and sometimes third time the gates were opened. It was a spectacle that defied logic or common decency, and exposed the rodeo for the perverse activity that it truly is. This footage will soon find its way to YouTube.com and SHARK's web sites.
Meanwhile, rodeo personnel took extreme efforts to block their cruelty from view, and there were many instances when SHARK investigators suspected that the agreed court order was being violated. But on Wednesday night, one investigator finally shot an unobstructed view of an electric prod being used on a downed steer in a chute - a clear violation of the agreed order. For this violation, Johnson and Jordan can expect to be answering to a circuit court judge in the very near future. Meanwhile, we will continue to review video footage to see how many more violations we can find.
Dodge City - Coward Capitol of Kansas
The day after the Cheyenne rodeo wrapped up, my youngest daughter flew home to prepare for her cheerleading workouts. It seems strange to me to think of her going from rodeo investigations to cheerleading, but it shows that anyone with resolve can be part of these vital efforts on behalf of animals. It doesn't take a special mandate or decree or license, it just takes caring and resolve.
Janet and I began the long drive back, but we did so via a slightly longer route that took us south to Dodge City, Kansas, the next place for steer ropers to conduct their vile abuse. The event began on a very overcast Tuesday morning, and it wasn't even a half hour before the first steer was crippled. A short time after that, event promoters halted the event and called the police to eject Janet and I, not because we did anything, but because organizers were afraid of how they would be portrayed on our videos. I laughed when the police ejected us, telling Dr. Trotter, head of the group organizing the event, that he was too late. I asked Dr. Trotter if he knew what YouTube was, and when he replied that he did, I told him, "Good, cause you're going to be on it." The good doctor didn't seem too pleased about that, but I can't say that I give a damn.(See DodgeCity Video)
The next day, an article came out in the Dodge City Daily Globe which inaccurately claimed that:"A small group of activists delayed the steer roping competition at Dodge City Roundup Arena early Tuesday morning." (Read Article)
This is absolutely false. Janet and I in no way delayed the brutality of the day. It was the animal abusers themselves who interrupted their cruelty in order to stop our videocams from documenting the abuse, injuries and deaths. The article went on to state:
"Police Chief John Ball said a small group of activists from an animal rights advocacy group named SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness) arrived on the rodeo grounds to protest the day's steer roping event."
Again, this is false. We protested nothing. Our presence was limited to silently videotaping the event, like we always do. We spoke to no one until and unless we were spoken to. We contacted the reporter who wrote the article via E-mail, and he replied that his story was based on the official police report and statements from the rodeo organizer. Interestingly, when we called the police and requested a copy of the "official police report," we were told that there wasn't one. As usual, the story surrounding rodeo activities was getting weirder and weirder.
We are still working with the reporter to get the story straight, and we'll include it when it finally comes out. If need be we'll appear before the Dodge City council to get the history of this matter straightened out.
Rodeo's Corporate Sponsors- The Business of Abuse
Rodeos could not exist as they do today without corporate sponsorship dollars. With little and still declining public interest in these throwback specticles, rodeos are clinging to unethical companies like ticks on a dog. The corporations who stoop to sponsoring rodeo animal abuse do so with the full knowledge that they are sponsoring cruelty. SHARK has supplied these companies with overwhelming and irrefutable evidence of the brutality, maiming and death that they "proudly" support. Some of the most prominent sponsors of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, as well as sponsoring other rodeos include, Coca-Cola (which denies sponsoring rodeos), Sams Club/Walmart, Dodge vehicles, and McDonalds (an old hand at perpetuating animal misery) This is just to name a few.
Try telling this horse that Coca-Cola "doesn't sponsor rodeos!"
Two particularly shocking Cheyenne Rodeo supporters are the Denver Broncos Football Team, and most disturbing of all, The United States Air Force Thunderbirds Aerobatic Flight Team.
The Denver Broncos sent their team mascot and cheerleaders to applaud the wanton abuse of rodeo victims.
TheThunderbirds provided flyovers and on one day, a complete air show - at taxpayer's expense, while our soldiers overseas are injured and dying from lack of protective equipment.
SHARK has sent the Broncos and the Thunderbirds letters protesting their involvement and requesting a meeting on this issue. We have not yet received a reply, but will keep you updated on our communications with both organizations. Given the Michael Vick dogfighting case that has scandalized professional football, it would be especially wise for the Broncos to rethink their involvement in the deadly and lurid issue of rodeo animal abuse.
"Animal Lovers" Def Leppard Exposed as ANIMAL TRAITORS
It was early in 2007 when we discovered that the supposedly "animal conscious" Def Leppard and "humanitarian" Bon Jovi were scheduled to play at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. This was appalling to us because the Cheyenne Rodeo is more in sync with animal abusers like Ted Nugent or Troy Gentry, the country singer who delights in shooting arrows into tame bears than anyone who claims to care about animals. (See www.CowboyCriminals.com)
In response, we sent both bands packages including a letter, extensive video and still picture documentation and newspaper articles detailing past Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo abuses. Both bands completely ignored our communications with not even the professional courtesy of any reply whatsoever. It was particularly ironic that rodeo announcers would use the upcoming Def Leppard and Bon Jovi concerts as filler topics as numerous dying animals were being dragged out of the arena.
With friends like Def Leppard and Bon Jovi, rodeo victims need no enemies.
We worked diligently for months to get through to the band members, including asking all of you to write, and posting a video on YouTube.com (See Video) as well as our own web site. In the case of Def Leppard, we even had the assistance of a celebrity who wishes to remain anonymous. There is no question whatsoever that both bands were well-informed about the issue and had plenty of time to cancel their performances.
Perhaps the bands thought that once the concert was performed and the checks were cashed, the issue would be over. THEY COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE MISTAKEN. Pictures and videos of the 2007 Cheyenne Rodeo will appear in more YouTube videos and on our website and will thoroughly expose these two bands to devastating effect. SHARK will hang this outrageous betrayal of animals on these two bands from here to eternity.
It is regrettable that PETA continues to have a public service announcement by Def Leppard band member, Phil Collen on their website. In this self-righteous announcement, Collen advocates vegetarianism because, he says, "It is better for the animals and the environment". Collen then turns around and allies with animal abusers with direct links to the cattle industry - one of the most abusive forces against the environment. Phil Collen and his band mates are nothing short of animal traitors. It is clear that Collen and his fellow band members are playing both sides of the fence.
To explain why Def Leppard and Bon Jovi did not pull out of their Cheyenne performance, fans have protested that the bands were "under contract". Yet, Grammy Winner and American Idol Carrie Underwood was in the same position in 2006, and after we sent her a similar package to the one we sent to Def Leppard and Bon Jovi, she cancelled her performance. Apparently the young Carrie Underwood has more cahones than Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, and anyone else in the rodeo industry ever could have.
To Those Who Serve Selflessly, Quietly, and with such Dedication
As usual, SHARK depended on our regulars: Mike Kobliska and Janet Enoch, for hard work at the rodeos. Mike Kobliska brought his considerable experience and professionalism to Springfield, mentoring my oldest daughter and teaching the first-time volunteers. We are sincerely appreciative of his time and expertise in handling this overwhelming task. Janet receives special mention for the most rodeo performances attended. In two weeks Janet attended eighteen rodeo performances, and was a source of never-ending energy and determination.
As a father, my heart was bursting with pride as my daughters threw themselves into the mission. My oldest daughter attended every one of the thirteen performance of the National High School Rodeo Finals. When no one else was able to attend two of the performances, she attended them by herself against my advice. For this she endured particularly harsh harassment from rodeo attendants and contestants alike, but she did not back down. She said she was "on a mission," and part of that was to make certain that the animals had at least one friend documenting their abuse.
Meanwhile, my youngest daughter attended fifteen rodeo performances at Cheyenne, often getting up at 4:30 a.m. to make the morning events, and she shot some of the most important documentation of the Cheyenne effort. I cannot begin to find the words to express my joy at their determination, dedication and compassion.
Other dedicated activists who gave of themselves for the animals will not be named, as they have indicated that they wish to remain anonymous. Whether named or not, these volunteers assisted enormously in our efforts to hold rodeos accountable for their cruelty.
I want to say something about those who busted their tails on behalf of rodeo victims at these rodeos. A rodeo investigator is a truly dedicated activist. Life on the road is difficult at best and preparing for and attending two performances of rodeo per day, exacts an enormous physical and emotional toll. Each rodeo performance is three or more hours of watching one animal victim after another being dominated, tormented, tortured, and sometimes injured or even killed. Documenting even one rodeo when you care about animals is a badge of honor. Witnessing the cruelty that you abhor will disturb your sleep, relationships and peace of mind for weeks to come. When your heart and soul are crying out for you to do whatever it takes to stop the insanity, an investigator must remain silent, and allow the camera to do its job in order to bring the truth out and ultimately bring positive change.
Even after the rodeo performances are over, the work is still in the early stages. The editing of the videos means that all the abuses will be witnessed again and again as we find the most important pieces of documentation to bring to the media, the government, the internet, etc. This explains why so few people are willing to endure the rigors of this most important aspect of activism - the documentation phase that is the basis of all the activity that is to follow.
I thank each and every person who took part in this difficult but vital effort, and encourage others to consider stepping up their efforts for animals by doing the same. Over the years I have heard so very many people talk about their dedication to animals. Talk is cheap. When all the people who talk, actually start ACTING for the animals, then the rodeo issue and every other animal issue will jump forward by leaps and bounds.
WE DESPERATELY NEED YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!
There is so much more work to be done and we are nowhere near finished pouring through the videos. There will be meetings with government bodies in both Illinois and Wyoming to discuss this year's rodeo documentation. So I will get to the last and perhaps most important part of this update, at least if we are to be able to continue with our efforts and their resulting successes.
I have told you about SHARK's investigation of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo and National High School Rodeo Finals. Additionally this season, SHARK investigators have been at numerous rodeos in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and the rodeo season still has a ways to go. Unfortunately, our efforts are very quickly draining our financial reserves, and our effort to fund the next-generation Tiger is moving forward very slowly.
SHARK is a great place to put your donations if you want your money to be maximized for the animals. Many people think that because of all the issues we are involved in and our many accomplishments, that SHARK is a large organization with a lot of staff and millions of dollars. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
SHARK is the foremost organization in the world for investigating and exposing rodeos, not to mention our successes against hunting, bullfighting and other gruesome issues. The tactics we employ against rodeos could be used with equal success against other animal abusers, if only we had the financial resources. We do not pay for office space, we work out of our homes. Only two people are paid part-time for their work, and I am NOT one of them. That means that as much money as possible goes directly to our efforts to help our nonhuman friends.
If you are concerned about the plight of animals in rodeos, as well as the Canadian baby seal slaughter, Korean dog torture, Japanese dolphin kills, vivisection, horse slaughter, foie gras, deer kills, animals in captivity and the many other issues SHARK has and is working on, NOW IS THE TIME TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT! It would be a disaster for the animals to allow our efforts to be stopped short, for lack of funds. It would be just what these rodeo ruffians are praying for.
To help us continue our fight for those that have no voice, please visit our link to support SHARK by giving a much needed donation.
SAN DIEGO -- The sound of fireworks displays on the Fourth of July could frighten pets and cause them to run away, officials with the Helen Woodward Animal Center warned San Diego-area residents Monday. "Even if the fireworks display is several miles away . . .
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