It isn’t cool to bully a bull, despite what rodeo aficionados may want us to believe. Rodeos don’t highlight a rancher’s agility and strength. They merely demonstrate a person’s aptitude for animal abuse. Because that’s exactly what rodeos are – cruel displays of animal abuse loosely disguised as entertainment and sport. And for one rodeo set to take place in Castro Valley, California, things are about to get a lot more brutish, as new, unsanctioned events that involve molesting forlorn mother cows and saddling frightened sheep are about to be added to the program.

Painful injuries, such as fractures and bruising, are common occurrences at rodeos – for the animals involved, much more than the humans. These animals are treated as objects, despite clear evidence that they experience the range of human emotions including pain, stress, and fear.

Cows are very intelligent and highly emotional beings. And yet, bulls are commonly shocked, prodded, and spurred to induce them to buck wildly and provide the audience with a great show as aggressive riders straddle their backs. Similarly, calves that are just weeks old are routinely roped as they desperately try to find a way out of the loud and stressful arena. Their young bodies are whipped to ground by their necks, and their legs tied, as burly men demonstrate their brawn on these frightened babies. Broken bones, torn ligaments, and internal hemorrhages are all regular occurrences.

But all that isn’t enough for the Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Castro Valley, California, which plans to introduce wild cow milking into this year’s event. This involves separating a distressed, lactating new mother cow from her calf and forcing her into the arena, where two men on horseback chase her down, violently rope her, and then forcibly milk her before cheering fans.

The mere act of isolating these mothers from their calves is tormenting enough, as is. As with humans, cows experience deep, familial bonds between mother and calf, and it’s common for these mothers to cry all night, perhaps even for weeks on end, if their calves are removed from their sides.

On top of it all, cows are known to have great memories and to remember everything – including all of the pain, suffering, and trauma they endure at the hands of man.

Sheep have been shown to have great memories, as well. They are also tender mothers and reliable friends. But the Rowell Ranch Rodeo plans to subject them to mutton busting, wherein children as young as four are invited to straddle and ride the petrified sheep – an activity that can be as harmful for the children as it is for the animal. Injuries are common for those who participate in this type of event; plus, this teaches these kids from a very young age that animal abuse is not only allowed, but encouraged.

Traditional rodeos are horrific enough, as animals can, and do, often die. But the unsanctioned events of wild cow milking and mutton busting that are proposed for the Rowell Ranch Rodeo represent a new extreme that cannot be permitted to take place.

Sign this petition on Care2 demanding that the Hayward Area Recreation Park District ban the cruel and non-sanctioned events of wild cow milking and mutton busting at this, and all, rodeos planned for its district.

Image source: Diane Garcia/Shuttesrtock