Nevada Public Radio Listen Live

"Here and Now"
Facebook Twitter Follow Nevada Public Radio

Support Nevada Public Radio
December 03, 2004
Podcasts

ARCHIVE: Rodeo Animals

Listen

PLASKON: This year 6 million people watched rodeos on TV according to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or PRCA. But watching it on TV is different than in person according to Las Vegas Veterinarian Adam Hadlam who has worked several Rodeos.

HADLAM: If you have ever watched on TV there are things that are omitted that they won't show you because they are concerned about people getting upset about what is happening to the animal.

PLASKON: He says, using electric prods and methods of roping in what's called steer-breaking are common is the reality of life on the ranch.

VIDEO SOUND: Will Rogers Memorial, Rumford Rodeo Company Vinita OK, August 28, 2004

PLASKON: This steer breaking was caught on tape at the Oklahoma Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo back in August. A steer runs out, the cowboy and his lasso in hot pursuit. The rope lands square on the steer's horns. What's not shown on TV says Hadlam is that the cowboy then lets out slack on the right side of the steer and then rides to the left. Then because of the rope placement when the slack runs out as the steer runs full speed its head is suddenly jerked head-first underneath it's own weight slamming to the ground.

VIDEO SOUND: Announcer: OOOOO

PLASKON: This steer lies motionless, as the cowboy triumphantly wraps up the animals limp legs. Once untied the steer can't put any weight on its hind legs. The announcer re-assures the crowd.

VIDEO SOUND: When we think an animal might be hurt, we bring them out on a red carpet.

PLASKON: Veterenarian Hadlam says the animals seem to thrive on the action of the rodeo. Even though it's dangerous, it's better than being out on a ranch or in a feed lot somewhere.

HADLAM: If I was a steer or I was a cow, a rodeo is where I would wanna be. If you compare to what happens out on the range the alternative is that a lot of other animals don't ever get treated.

PLASKON: He says animals at the National Finals Rodeo are treated like royalty compared to smaller regional events but he's confident that other rodeos have good veterinarians too. Steer busting is common and not considered abuse under the law. Animal activist Steve Hindi does call it abuse. He filmed this entire incident. And recalls a tractor coming out to get the injured steer in Oklahoma.

HINDI: Dragged them into the pen and let him slowly die over the next hour. That vet was never seen again, and she never checked the injured animal. She was there as a public relations tool only.

PLASKON: For the past 12 years Hindi's organization, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, or SHARK has filmed rodeo personnel coast to coast. He says that at 3 out of 4 rodeos SHARK activists have witnessed and filmed abuse including repeated punching of caged horses and livestock, shocking them in the face with high voltage tazers known as Hot Shots - and doing it to put on a show.

VIDEO SOUND

PLASKON: In this clip supplied by SHARK, a cowboy shocks a horse in a stall repeatedly until its visibly aggravated. It leaps out of the gate when it opens, bucks for a few seconds then stops resting calmly with the rider still on its back. This video trumps the common claim that all the animals in rodeos naturally buck when a human sits on them says Hindi:

HINDI: Born to buck, that's not true. When a horse doesn't want to buck, then the prod comes out. They grab them by their ears and sticking their thumbs down the ears

PLASKON: Veterinarian Hadlam recognizes that Hot Shots, that can deliver 5-thousand volts of electricity are used inappropriately:

HADLAM: And I do think that it is used in rodeo where it shouldn't be used but it is also used in ranches and elsewhere where it shouldn't be used."

PLASKON: For instance ranchers themselves get shocked with them.

GOICOECHEA: If you have ever been hit with a hot shot and most of us out here on these ranches have been and we recognize how it does hurt, but it doesn't tear your arm off.

PLASKON: Pete Goicoechea is a State Assembly Member and a White Pine county rancher. He's currently nursing a pulled hamstring from chasing cattle. But that's not slowing him down, having attended political meeting this week and heading back into the mountains yesterday.

GOICOECHEA: In fact we are just headed north and we are gonna gather a bunch of cows up in the Ruby Mountains. It is 2 below and we have 6-8 inches of snow.

PLASKON: He hasn't seen the SHARK videos, but says steer busting as seen in rodeos is typical on the ranch and one humane way cowboys catch steers.

GOICOECHEA: The alternative is you catch him around the neck and hold him until he chokes down. I don't know what is more humane get knocked down once like in a football game or get choked.

PLASKON: As far as the Hot Shots, Goicoechea says that used minimally they are a more humane way to get an animal to move rather than beating them with a pipe or whip. The animal rights organization SHARK will be displaying dozens of its videos near NFR this weekend on 4 big screen TV's. They want to sway public opinion in favor of legislation aimed at protecting the animals, such as prohibiting the use of Hot Shots on livestock while they are confined to stalls. Such legislation has been passed in California and Illinois. When rodeo personnel have ignored the law in those states SHARK videos have led to convictions. Nonetheless, Assemblyman Goicoechea doesn't think legislation is a good idea in Nevada.

GOICOECHEA: I think it would be ridiculous to put any restraints on that. Are we going to make it illegal to play football? You will see more people hurt in football than in an NFR performance. It's typical but you will say they are doing it out of their own free will, but again it is all dollars and cents.

PLASKON: The analogy, he says, between rodeo and football is that those who are hurt take the risk because they stand to make a lot of money. And the stakes are pretty high for cowboys, last year Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association members cracked 6 figure incomes. Cowboys at NFR in Las Vegas stand to earn more than ever, 5.1 million dollars in prize money. The animals may not make any money, but in a macabre twist participating benefits them says Goicoechea.

GOICOECHEA: The ultimate destination for them is the food chain and the longer they are in the rodeo that's keeping them out of the food chain.

PLASKON: According to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which puts on the National Finals Rodeo, treating animals well is the key to a successful event. It has more than 60 rules governing their care. Representatives told KNPR that it's rules go beyond current law. Some rodeo practices may be tough to swallow, but Assemblyman Goicoechea says they allow people from all walks of life to put on a pair of boots and a hat and join in western heritage. 170 thousand spectators are expected at NFR.

Ky Plaskon, News 88-9 KNPR

See discussion rules.

Archives

Apr 4, 2009 | Drug Donation Program
Nevada lawmakers are debating the creation of a program that would help cancer patients get expensive prescription drugs for less.

Mar 13, 2009 | Budget Wrangling
As state lawmakers wrestle with Nevada's multi-billion-dollar budget deficit, there are several plans afoot aimed at softening the next economic bust.

Mar 2, 2009 | Autism
The cost of treating children with autism can be $24,000 to $40,000 per child per year according to the Autism Coalition of Nevada. A bill before the Nevada Legislature aims to help families pay for the care.

Feb 16, 2007 | Chinese New Year
This weekend marks a celebration of Chinese New Year. KNPR's Rick Andrews reports on how the holiday is being celebrated by the valley's growing Asian community.

Dec 7, 2006 | Food and Beverage
The economy of scale for food and beverage operations in Las Vegas means any edge in efficiency is real money. Rick Andrews reports on a software product scoring with food and beverage managers looking at the bottom line...and what you're likely to order.

Nov 15, 2006 | Global Gaming Expo
The Global Gaming Expo trade show and conference got underway Tuesday in Las Vegas. Vendors showcase their latest wares including new slot machines.

Nov 1, 2006 | Stardust Memories
When it opened in 1958 the Stardust was the world's largest hotel. Now, after more than 48 years, it's closed.

Sep 27, 2006 | Nevada Northern Railway
The 'Nevada Northern' is celebrating its centenial anniversary. News 88.9's Rick Andrews went on a tour of the museum with executive director Mark Bassett.

Jun 30, 2006 | Standing Up for Ringo
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley tells the story of how she saw the Beatles in Las Vegas in August 1964.

Jun 29, 2006 | Sports Supplements
From fortified cereals to energy drinks to serious sports nutrition, people are willing to spend lots money to supplement their diets. Rick Andrews reports on the business of sports supplements.

May 25, 2006 | Love
Wednesday Cirque du Soleil provided a glimpse of their much anticipated show based on the music of the Beatles. Flo Rogers reports on Love.

May 24, 2006 | Telecommunications
A Senate telecommunications bill currently being considered includes provisions on most everything, but some worry that controversial measures will derail the entire package.

May 16, 2006 | Nanotech
Universities across the country are spending millions to expand nano technology research...manipulating molecules 10,000 times smaller than a human hair. Rick Andrews reports on nano research at UNLV.

Apr 24, 2006 | Earthscope
Hualapai Mountain Park, near Kingman, has been chosen by the National Science Foundation to be home to a seismic monitoring station. Gillian Ferris Kohl reports.

Apr 18, 2006 | Anatomical Donation for Science
In the second of two reports exploring innovative medical facilities in the Valley, Rick Andrews visits the Medical Education and Research Institute of Nevada in Henderson.

Apr 12, 2006 | Immigration Reform Stalled
Immigration legislation in the U.S. Senate is at a standstill. Many in the Republican Party blame Nevada Democrat, Senator Harry Reid for the impasse. Jill Morrison reports from Capitol Hill.

Apr 1, 2006 | New Plans for Nellis
The first of April brings news that a large piece of military land in Las Vegas may be redeveloped.

Mar 28, 2006 | Test Site Worker Compensation
Senator Harry Reid is trying to get compensation for Test Site workers who were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, but never compensated.

Feb 27, 2006 | StoryCorps - Alice Keys
Alice Keys has been active in the African American community for decades and known through her association with the Moulin Rouge Casino. Here's her recollection of meeting one of the great African Americans of the last century.

Feb 21, 2006 | StoryCorps - Alan Morel and Mike Genoshe
When close friends interview each other, the stories are often more intimate and revealing than talking to a reporter. A case in point is Alan Morel and Mike Genoshe talking about their hopes for their adopted son.

© 2014 NEVADA PUBLIC RADIO   
Web hosting facilities provided by Switch.