A coalition of 68 Chinese animal rights groups has called for the cancellation of Rodeo China, a Sino-U.S. cultural exchange event scheduled for October at Beijing’s National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest.
Rodeo China was approved by the Chinese government in April as part of a series of Sino-American cultural exchange events. It will be the most expensive competition of its kind, with an unprecedented prize of $8 million.
It will also be the biggest event of its kind, with around 120 cowboys, 180 horses, 36 bulls and 90 steers, primarily from the U.S. and Australia, competing in the Bird’s Nest stadium. Producers have billed the event as “the Super Bowl of rodeo.”
Chinese Animal Rights Activists Are Angry
In a letter last month to the Chinese People’s Assn. for Friendship With Foreign Countries, a government group teamed with the event’s U.S. organizers, rights groups condemned rodeo as a cruel sport that even Americans deem abusive and unpopular. They labeled it another example of “trashy” U.S. culture.
From The Daily Telegraph:
China has no laws to prevent animal abuse and there are widespread examples of zoos feeding live chickens and sheep to tigers, or of bears being caged in order to extract bile from their gall-bladders.
“We do not want this trashy culture to come to China,” the protesters told the Beijing News newspaper, after a group of 68 Chinese animal charities joined together to campaign against the event.
However, Liu Huili, a spokesman for the animal charities, insisted it was vital to stop the rodeo. “There are many cases of animal abuse in China, but that does not mean we have to import more abuse from other countries,” he said.
“Turning the Bird’s Nest stadium into an animal pit is totally disrespectful and if this show is allowed to go ahead, it will send out a signal that this sort of culture is acceptable and it will then mushroom across China.
“The Chinese organisers also know very little about animal welfare and may fail to provide proper care for the horses and bulls, all of which are being imported from the US and Australia,” he added.
No Animals Will Be Harmed?
Animals are subjected to immense stress and cruelty in events such as calf roping, where the calf is goaded, prodded, and often has its tail twisted to ensure that it bursts out of its chute at full speed. The terrified calf is then chased by a mounted rider who must lasso the calf, jump off his horse, pick up the calf, slam it to the ground and tie all three of its feet together.
The League also points out that not only are these races extremely dangerous for all the animals involved, but very few years have passed in which fatalities have not occurred. In 2010, for example, six horses died during the rodeo at the Calgary Stampede in Canada.
Please sign our petition asking the Chinese People’s Assn. for Friendship With Foreign Countries to cancel Rodeo China.
Photo Credit: IvanWalsh.com via Creative Commons
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