By Lisa Spector, Canine Music Expert, Juilliard Graduate, and co-creator of Through a Dog’s Ear.
I almost couldn’t believe what I was reading and had to check twice for the date in the New York Times article. It’s 2011 and we are teaching our children to compete for prizes by riding sheep that they see as their enemy? Honestly? It appears that a new sport called Mutton Busting is gaining popularity all over the United States, particularly in suburban neighborhoods.
The goal is for the child to stay on the sheep as long as possible, assimilating a rodeo experience. Some parents think it’s just like a child getting hurt in a baseball or football game when they fall off the sheep and that it builds character, others think it’s child abuse. Personally, I think it’s child abuse and simultaneous animal abuse and it’s a horrendous sport to teach our children. In many cases, crying children are placed onto bleating sheep and encouraged by their parents to hold on to the sheep so they can win a prize. It’s not unusual that human bones are broken and faces are scraped while sheep spirits are also shattered, being forced to do something they don’t do naturally. In the meantime, kids are discouraged when they fall instantly and don’t win, receive loud cheers and applause from the spectators when they do win, and keep coming back for more.
The New York Times article interviewed several youngsters. Logan, 6, competed last year and returned to the fair “to rematch my enemy,” he said. “The sheep.” And two foot youngster Lachlan Murphy had a winning ride in Aurora, Colorado, even though his sheep scraped him off on the arena’s metal fence. He planned to compete again in the weekend championship. “It’s just a small sheep,” he said, clutching his prize. “I just care that I won.”
This video shows several youngsters mutton busting. Does this look like fun to you? Is it something you would cheer? Or do you think it’s child abuse? Animal abuse? Thanks for voting and sharing your thoughts in a comment below.
As co-founder of Through a Dog’s Ear, I am offering my Care2 readers a free download from our latest release, Music to Calm your Canine Companion, Vol. 3. Simply click here and enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy.