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Josée (Montréal) - 9 h ago

As part of Montreal’s 375th anniversary, the Coderre administration and the Society for the Celebration of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary are planning to hold a rodeo called NomadFest Urban Rodeo from August 24 to 27, 2017.

You read that right: A rodeo. An activity with no cultural or historical connection to our city―one where animals are subjected to fear, stress and undue risk of injury or even death.

We won’t allow

this cruel activity to take place, all in the name of “entertainment”.


The NomadFest Urban Rodeo is set to feature bull riding, as well as bareback and saddle bronco riding. These events, held at a breakneck pace, are designed to provide “entertainment” based on violence towards and domination of animals.
A strap is tightened around a sensitive part of the animal’s body, causing discomfort and even pain. The animal then bucks—not out of pleasure or challenge, but to get rid of the feeling of discomfort.
Most rodeo events use equipment that can cause pain and coerces animals to perform out of fear.
As part of the bronco riding events, horses must be spurred over the shoulders on each jump or buck in order for the rider to qualify. The spurs often cause wounds.
Some rodeo fans believe the animals are like athletes and are proud to perform. However, the fear in the animals’ eyes tells us differently—and that’s what the show is selling. See more photos
Statistics from the Calgary Stampede show that animals are regularly injured and that some even die at rodeos. Many more injuries and deaths not reported in any official statistics occur during practice runs.
Photo credit (3 to 6): Jo-Anne McArthur/ We Animals


Marc Bekoff and many other specialists agree: for an animal, the psychological distress linked to stress and fear can be worse than physical pain.

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals
To put it simply, rodeo animals do not like being treated like this and they suffer deep and enduring pain that doesn’t end when the event is over. - Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado and animal behavior specialist.

THOSE LEFT BEHIND: What happens to animals that don’t make it to the rodeo?

Vancouver Humane Society

While pro-rodeo advocates like to tout statistics about the “small” number of animals injured or killed during rodeos, these figures do not take into account the animals harmed during practice or training. Neither do they take into account the fact that the horses bred to compete in bucking events, but who don’t qualify, often end up being sent to slaughter because, having been raised to be semi-wild, they are not generally comfortable or safe around humans.

Each year, the Calgary Stampede—Canada’s largest rodeo—sends at least 20 horses to slaughter after they fail to qualify for bucking events.

Join other Montreal SPCA supporters in saying NO to the NomadFest Urban Rodeo—an event that showcases animals’ suffering and is not worthy of our city!

  • Write a letter to Mayor Denis Coderre (pre-written, with a copy sent to Tourisme Montréal)
  • Ask the Society for the Celebration of Montreal’s 375th Anniversary to remove the NomadFest Urban Rodeo from its list of events (pre-written letter)
  • Ask 375th anniversary sponsors to follow Loblaws’ example and disassociate themselves from the NomadFest Urban Rodeo (pre-written letter)

*Your personal information will remain confidential.


Read what the experts have to say

“During the course of my lifetime, I have been a farmer and a bareback rodeo bronc rider. I’m also a medical researcher (veterinarian), meat inspector and prosecutor. My extensive experience with animals has led me to conclude this: rodeo events are inherently cruel.”

- Peggy W. Larson, DVM, MS, JD

"Since veterinarians and veterinary medicine focus on the well-being of all animals, our profession simply cannot support rodeo practices. A rodeo’s success is inevitably based on the exploitation of animals’ reaction to pain, noise and fear, as well as their instinct to flee.”

- Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)

“While the crowd at a rodeo is roaring with enthusiasm at the ‘contest’ between the human and the animal, anyone with a heart and familiarity with the behavior of mammals can see that the unwilling animal is in a state of terror, and often injured and in pain. The only willing participant is the human.”

- Marc Bekoff, Ph.D.

“Rodeo supporters pretend that the animals are well treated—that they only participate in events for a short time and then they’re sent to rest. How does treating these animals ‘well’ justify causing them psychological and physical stress, most probably associated with pain (which is not systematically associated with visible lesions)?! Well treated before only to suffer during… with many sent to the slaughterhouse. ”

- Dr Jean-Jacques Kona-Boun, DVM

“The rodeo folks send their animals to the packing houses where I have seen cattle so extensively bruised that the only areas in which the skin was attached was the head, neck, legs, and belly. I have seen animals with six to eight ribs broken from the spine and at times puncturing the lungs. I have seen as much as two and three gallons of free blood accumulated under the detached skin.”

- Dr. C. G. Haber, DMV, veterinarian with thirty years’ experience as a USDA meat inspector


Aren’t rodeo animals just like athletes in other rough sports?
Unlike humans, the animals forced to participate in rodeos have no choice in the matter. They do not willingly participate in activities where they are subjected to discomfort, stress, fear, pain, and risk of injury. Would a semi-feral animal choose to be goaded into an arena of thousands of screaming people looking forward to violence? Would they choose to have a strap tightened around their midsection, causing discomfort and stress, in order to dislodge the “rider” on their back?
Don’t flank straps simply “tickle” the animal?
Flank straps that are tightened around a horse or bull’s sensitive midsection cause, at a minimum, discomfort but can also cause pain. The tightened strap torments the animal who uses bucking to try to rid themselves of the rider and the strap. Anyone who has ever seen the behavior of horses and bulls in bucking events is well aware that these animals are not bucking, fleeing and kicking in reaction to being “tickled”—but rather as a reaction to torment, fear and distress.
NomadFest Urban Rodeo organizers claim injuries aren’t common and ensure that veterinarians are present to monitor animal welfare. Doesn’t that mean the animals are well cared for?
NomadFest Urban Rodeo and many other rodeos keep an emergency team of veterinarians on duty because they know animals can easily be injured. Indeed, the presence of veterinarians does not rhyme with good animal welfare, but rather indicates that rodeos subject animals to unnecessary risk of injury―all for the sake of human entertainment.
Nomadfest Urban Rodeo organizers claim they won’t allow electric prods to be used and that flank straps don’t squeeze bulls’ testicles. So what is the problem?
Flank straps are tightened over a horse or bull’s sensitive midsection, not their testicles. However, this does not mean that the strap does not cause irritation, discomfort or even pain to the animal. What’s important to remember is that this is clearly a coercive method used to get the animals to perform.

While organizers have specified electric prods will not be used for certain purposes and during certain events, this doesn’t mean they won’t be used at all, along with other tools like whips and spurs.
Nomadfest Urban Rodeo has published a guide dedicated to animal welfare and is sanctioned by the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) which establishes regulations to ensure animal welfare. Doesn’t this mean that the organizers are following strict rules when it comes to animal welfare?
The IPRA is not an animal welfare organization but rather a lobbying entity dedicated to promoting rodeos. The IPRA’s animal welfare “regulations” are in fact simply guidelines and have no force of law. The animal welfare regulations listed by the IPRA referred to in the NomadFest Urban Rodeo manual have little or nothing to do with animal welfare, and are either too vague to be enforced or blatantly acknowledge the risk of injury that animals are subjected to. For example:

Rule 6 : If an animal is injured in the process of contesting in the timed events, the contestant shall not receive another head during that go round.

Rule 9 : All flesh brands or wounds will be treated as soon as possible and as often as necessary.

Rule 10 : Standard battery-operated livestock prods may be used in moderation, when necessary, on appropriate areas of the animal’s body (i.e., neck, chest, shoulder, and hips).

Rule 12 : No contract performer will abuse rodeo stock or animals used in their acts in any way. Contract performers reported for infraction of this rule will be subject to a fine.

The majority of the NomadFest Urban Rodeo manual on well-being simply reiterates rodeo and animal use rhetoric, and does not impose anything stricter than what is already obligatory under our provincial and federal animal protection legislation.
Aren’t rodeo horses and bulls bred and raised to buck?
The rodeo industry claims that the horses and bulls it uses are born to buck and that bucking is a natural and positive experience for the animal. However, even if animals have been selectively bred for a predisposition to buck, this does not mean bucking is a positive experience for them. It merely means the animal is genetically predisposed to react to stimulation or stress by bucking. Additionally, a flank strap is still necessary in order to induce the bucking behaviour, which is hardly natural. Furthermore, horses bred to compete in bucking events, but who don’t qualify, often end up being sent to slaughter because they are kept semi-wild and not generally comfortable around humans. They are sacrificed after the fact.


Electric prods
A jolt of 5,000,000 volts of electricity is emitted into the shoulder and hip...
A jolt of 5,000,000 volts of electricity is emitted into the shoulder and hip of the animal, usually a bull, to get him to rear and buck. While NomadFest Urban Rodeo organizers have specified electric prods will not be used for certain purposes and during certain events, the use of electric prods will not be completely prohibited.
A metal device with a small spike or a spiked wheel that is worn on a rider's...
A metal device with a small spike or a spiked wheel that is worn on a rider's heel, used to inflict discomfort and even pain as well as provoke an animal to buck.
Whips are permitted at rodeos. The physical injuries to horses caused by whips are...
Whips are permitted at rodeos. The physical injuries to horses caused by whips are well-documented and include severe eye lesions, welts, bruises, and cuts.
Flank straps
A strap placed around an animal’s sensitive mid-section, causing irritation and...
A strap placed around an animal’s sensitive mid-section, causing irritation and stress that the animal attempts to escape from. Learn more here.


around the world
  • England, Scotland and the Netherlands have banned rodeos outright and many other countries prohibit certain rodeo events.
  • A number of states in the U.S., including California, Rhode Island, Nevada, Ohio, and Wisconsin prohibit the use of certain painful tools, such as the electric prod, or prohibit certain rodeo events.
  • A number of U.S. cities including Pittsburgh, Pasadena, Montgomery, San Francisco, Pompano Beach, Southampton, New York City, Greenburgh, and Baltimore County have nearly banned or strictly limited rodeo events and use of painful tools such as flank straps and electric prods. St. Petersburg, Florida and Fort Wayne, Indiana have banned rodeos outright.
  • In Canada, the city of Vancouver has banned rodeos.