Horse News

Some Calgary Stampede horses sent to slaughter

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“The selection would be in the order of 20 horses a year…”

For the first time, the Calgary Stampede is acknowledging its unwanted rodeo horses are sent to an Alberta slaughterhouse for meat.

Stampede officials say the slaughterhouse in Fort Macleod is a destination of last resort for a very few number of the male horses that can’t be trained to buck.

“The selection would be in the order of 20 horses a year that wouldn’t be suitable for something else and would have to go this route,” says Dr. Greg Evans, a Stampede veterinarian.

The female horses that aren’t suitable for sport can be put into the Stampede ranch’s breeding program.

The Calgary Humane Society, which works with the Stampede on animal welfare, says there ought to be a better option.

“We adamantly oppose this practice. And we would hope, perhaps, the Stampede would look at other options. There are horse rescues in Alberta that I’m sure would help with animals no longer needed,” says Christy Thompson, from the Calgary Humane Society.

Dr. Evans defends the Stampede’s decision saying bucking horses aren’t typically appropriate for riding, or pets.

“Basically, because they’re bred to buck, they’re semi-feral so they’re wilder than the average horse and a lot of them it’s a temperament problem so they’re not going to be comfortable in confinement of any kind,” says Dr. Evans.

33 replies »

  1. Horse that are not “suitable for sport” would include horses with injuries… Broken legs or torn ligaments that would be too expensive to repair.

    Just like the bull calves that get tortured and damaged before they become “useless” as a result of the fun ‘n games at the rodeo – They go to slaughter. So much for “humane” meat.


  2. I rode a horse off a bucking string for years as a kid, around shows in northern Michigan from
    Traverse City to Petoskey, placing well in speed and action events and getting high point trophies with him. You couldn’t ride double (pick-up race) or get your legs too far back toward his flanks. But he was a goer, and he was happy. His name was “Champ.”

    So I disagree with the veterinarian’s broad brush assessment of these horses as semi-feral and unable to be ridden or be pets. It sounds like a rationalization to me, and an obvious generalization. You can’t say all veterinarians are the same either and so should be treated the same way. AND NO WAY DOES WHAT HE SAYS EVER MAKE A CASE TO SLAUGHTER A HORSE. ESPECIALLY A HORSE WHO HAS WORKED HARD AT A JOB LIKE BEING A BUCKING HORSE. NEVER!


  3. Any excuse to try to justify their actions. I’m sick of their stupid excuses. They say “excuses are like a..holes, everybody has one”. There is no acceptable excuse for horse slaughter and no reason for breeding in this economy. People have more compassion for an old inanimate building than for living breathing equines. This is a sick environment full of sick people.


  4. I think it’s time we re-evaluate some of these antiquated “sports”. Animals shouldn’t have to DIE for “entertainment”. Bucking horses are often tortured, spurred violently, hit with electric shock and other means to get them to buck in the first place. Let’s EVOLVE people!


  5. I’d like everyone that competes in bull riding and “bronc” bustin’ (which is an oxymoron) to wear a bucking strap while exerting great energy for one hour a day. Walk in their “hooves” you freaking morons!

    As to going to slaughter….and anyone here surprised?!? Please…….


    • Absolutely. Hey, doc—any idea what the market would be for a horse that just refused to buck! The things that these people say????? I guess the veterinarians that enable horse slaughter are the uses that could not be trained in empathy????

      Just when you think you have heard every idiotic, self-serving statement these people can make, a new day dawns and one of them speaks.


    • bevkins77….give him/her enough money and the vet will write on a Rx that “yes, indeedeedo….pigs fly”!


  6. The rodeo is based on money. If the promoter and participants and vendors don’t make money then there will be no rodeos. The rodeo season is upon us – DO NOT GO.

    Find another equine activity to replace it with. Perhaps visit and help a local rescue? Spend a day at a rescue: feeding, cleaning water troughs, brushing animals and if you are really lucky … soaking in the “feel” of the horses. When you leave at the end of the day … give the rescue organization a check… instead of the animal abusing rodeo promoter.

    If you are really lucky and can take a vacation, plan a visit to view wild horses in their natural world. Take a camera and binoculars and be prepared for your heart to be filled with joy.


    • Great suggestion, Grandma Gregg. I can’t wait until Madeleine Pickens opens her Mustang Monument. I bet it will be a real retreat for the souls of horse lovers and the people who love them. I’d book a trip tomorrow if she were ready to open.


  7. Anyone that attends the Calgary Stampede is a horse abuser. The breeders are greedy people who , when an horse is not suitable they want to get the slaughter fee. They could humanely put the animal down. They don’t consider this because they can get a few more dollars sending it to slaughter. real sportsmen.


  8. If they have a breeding program someone has land–and why couldn’t those horses be a sanctuary animal. We keep wild horses in long term holding and “artificially” feed them (there fed they don’t forage for their food)–so why can’t these horses be kept in a sanctuary setting?

    Joe at tbfriends has several animals that he will never allow to be adopted out because of the abuse the horse has been subjected to. In a lot of ways this is the same.


  9. Here we go again. Please give me a break!!! Horses are not born mean, they are made that way by sick people. What’s a matter with all the macho cowboys out there? With all the money they make in the rodeo, can’t they afford to donate some of that money for the “Elderly or Retired” Buckers so that they can live their remaining life out just being a horse..Shame on All the Cowboys and Cow Girls who ride the bucking horses…And this is how they are repaid for all their work in this descipline…Now I really don’t think I want to attend another rodeo!


  10. Pretty simple and civilized answer here if in fact they couldn’t find a rescue that would take those 20 or so horses annually (it doesn’t sound like they even try that route though): a squeeze chute and humane euthanasia via lethal injection.
    None of these barbaric, conscienceless people EVER thinks of that for the reason that they are all about squeezing every, last penny out of a horse through slaughter and NOT spending any money to euthanize them humanely. What a joke (not a funny joke) and these individuals are uncivilized people who may as well be living in the dark ages……wonder what they do with the kids that are difficult to handle………..sell them into the underground sex slave trade? Somehow, that wouldn’t surprise me one bit! 😦


  11. It’s horrible enough that any horse or burro goes to slaughter but did you know that our wild horses and burros that are “managed” by the BLM also go? Most of you do know, but for those who don’t, the BLM “adoption” contract states the adopter cannot use them for bucking horses BUT the sale authority contract does not say that at all.

    So if I was a rodeo stock rancher, I could buy a couple of trailers full of wild horses and/or burros @ $10 per head and free delivery to my ranch and then if I saw a few of those animals that might be good breeding stock or bucking stock then I could do that. The other “culls” I would just sell to another horse trader who would not “knowingly” be a kill-buyer … and off they would go. Easy fast buck – and “legal”. Does anyone really think that BLM does not know how this works and yet facilitates this tragedy and then denys they do this and looks the other way?


  12. Grandma Greg,

    There is no reason to tiptoe around this subject. It is time for a paradigm shift. The BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Management policies make sense, even their assertions that horses produce litters of foals that never die in the first year of life and that if left to their own devices on the range, they will starve…all these obvious faux facts, hiring a pilot with the skills of Josh Heiler, if you look at the BLM and their rancher friends as producers for the foreign horse meat industry. No wonder the 1971 law passed unanimously. Having the BLM instead of the Park Service manage the wild horses assured that that the foxes would guard the hen house making sure that there would always be a supply of hens available for their fellow foxes to harvest.

    Now doesn’t this make all those inconsistent numbers, the lack of systemization, the lack of humane handling protocols, lack of transparency, holding advocates and journalists in a truck all day during a round up, failing to respect a court order from a federal judge to allow a journalist to view a roundup, rounding up thousands of horses at the beginning and ending of foaling season to make sure there was a cheap, amply supply of horse meat at hand. Get those babies to Midwestern promised land, feed them, and then ship them out in a couple of years.

    Wonder if their is an equine equivalent to veal?


  13. Does anyone know where to find out about Cactus Cafe and Canucki, they have suddenly resurfaced but i wanted to know more???????


  14. Dr. Evans defends the Stampede’s decision saying bucking horses aren’t typically appropriate for riding, or pets.

    “Basically, because they’re bred to buck, they’re semi-feral so they’re wilder than the average horse and a lot of them it’s a temperament problem so they’re not going to be comfortable in confinement of any kind,” says Dr. Evans.

    I was going to make SEVERAL comments about the stupidity of this statement by a licensed vet (who is obviously “on the payroll” with them!) but everyone else covered it and more. I’m left with my first thought as reading this:

    WHAT A CROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As a friend of mine use to say to people who would say something this inane…”DON’T PISS ON MY LEG AND TRY TO TELL ME IT’S RAINING!”


  15. Like Rob Pilskin I have to object to the assessment made by the veterinarian, Dr Evans, that these horses are semi-feral and wilder than the average horse. So what about the wild mustangs that people adopt and that become perfectly wonderful riding and working horses. Sorry, that comment just doesn’t hold water. More smoke screens and misinformation being given to the general public.


  16. Last year they admitted that the chuck wagon horses also went to slaughter after the show closed; why wasn’t that mentioned? That would mean a lot of horses go to slaughter not just 20 horses. There are more then that in just the chuck wagon races. That vet is such a liar!


  17. I just hate rodeos, horse racing, and any horse related function that uses horses for profit, because behind all the industry is the dark side-horse slaughter, abuse, and neglect. I never attend any of these events, instead my money goes toward horse rescue and attending benign events that are tons of fun that rescues put on.


  18. Dr. Evans says “male horses that can’t be TRAINED to BUCK”, are the ones typically sent to slaughter? Ok, that doesn’t make any sense in the first place! If the horses can’t be “trained to buck”, then they’re NOT “bucking horses”!! They are simply hard to train, maybe have too calm or low-keyed dispositions, no energy, maybe even some ailment or injury. So they’re punished by being sent to slaughter, just because they don’t cooperate! How sick is that! Shoot, the horse we lease for our teen daughter to ride bucks every time she asks him for speed, everytime she wants him to speed up or run, he bucks! She is a really good rider, & stays on most of the time, but she’s been bucked off many times as well! He’s not suppose to buck, but he does. He’s not a bad horse, probably just needs more training, not punishment. Those people need to get out of the horse business!


    • Unfortunately, with uncivilized people like this, it’s ALL about money, so if a horse won’t buck at the level they want, or won’t buck at all, then it’s “next” and off they go to slaughter where they DO make some money for the horses meat….sick, twisted and UNCIVILIZED!


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