The cruelty behind bull riding is pretty well known by now, but a similar “sport” that isn’t as common is called mutton busting. Mutton busting is a rodeo event where instead of bull riding, there is sheep riding, and it’s done by children. As In Defense of Animals explained the event to One Green Planet: “Sheep riding, or ‘mutton busting,’ is a rodeo event where children jump on terrified sheep, riding them around as the sheep struggle desperately to free themselves.”

Participants of this rodeo event are children who dream of being bull riders and their parents who support such cruel ‘sports’ in the name of “tradition.” In fantastic news for sheep, Alameda County banned sheep riding which means there will be no more sheep tormented for entertainment at the annual Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Castro Valley.

In the news report above done on mutton busting by CGTN America, participants of the rodeo event spoke of the sheep as being docile and harmless, but that does not take away from the cruelty they endure. In that same video report, the sheep can be seen in distress as they desperately try to free themselves of the tight grip of the persistent children. The sheep fall on their faces or awkwardly on their legs, and even the children get hurt.

These innocent animals don’t deserve to be tortured this way. The ban in Alameda County is a great first step, and hopefully other cruel sports will soon be banned too. Matthew Hamity, Director of Campaigns and Legislative Affairs for In Defense of Animals gave testimony at the hearing of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, October 29th. There, “the entertainment was condemned as cruel by veterinary experts and animal advocates.”

As Hamity says: “We will not rest until the cruelest rodeo practices are abolished. Tie-down calf roping, and the use of flank strap and spurs in horse bucking events, routinely cause serious injury and even death.” Marilyn Kroplick M.D., President of In Defense of Animals adds: “The tide is turning against exploitation and abuse of animals for entertainment. The shocking mistreatment of sheep, calves and horses in rodeo is every bit as harmful and significant as the cruelty inflicted on orcas at SeaWorld and elephants in circuses.”

The world is opening their eyes to the cruelty of such activities that were once deemed entertainment, sport, or tradition. Progress is being made. But there is still much more work to be done. Organization Action for Animals which has long been fighting against mutton busting wants an end to all cruel rodeo events, such as pig wrestling, wild cow milking, chute dogging, goat tying, steer riding, and cow riding. With this many cruel rodeo events, it’s clear there’s more work to be done. Check out the Action for Animals website to learn more about these causes and the work they are doing to fight against such cruelty. If you want to add your voice to speak up for the animals who suffer in these cruel events, you can also sign this petition!

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