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Animal rights activists say Stampede ‘not entertainment; it’s cruelty’

The Vancouver Humane Society has commissioned a number of billboards across Calgary urging people to skip the Calgary Stampede's rodeo and chuckwagon races. Global News

The start of the Calgary Stampede is over seven weeks away, but the Vancouver Humane Society has already launched a campaign urging Calgarians to “skip the rodeo and chuckwagon races.”

The Society has commissioned advertisements on several billboards around Calgary displaying messages such as “Rodeo: No Fun for Animals” and “Rodeo animals aren’t performing, they’re suffering.” The billboards are located on 42 ave just east of Blackfoot Trail, on Glenmore Trail just west of  52 street and on MacLeod Trail south of 48 avenue.

“The billboards encourage people to rethink supporting events that cause animal suffering,” says the Society’s director of communications, Chantelle Archambault.   “It’s not entertainment. It’s cruelty.”

The Vancouver Humane Society has commissioned advertisements on several billboards around Calgary urging people to boycott the animal events at the Calgary Stampede. Global News

The organization says it also hired Vancouver-based Research Co to do some polling and claims the results show more than half of Albertans surveyed disagree with the use of animals in events like steer wrestling, calf roping, and bronc riding.

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In a statement provided to Global News, the Calgary Stampede says treating animals with respect and care is at the core of its celebration of western heritage and values.

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“We encourage members of our community to visit Stampede Park, July 5-14, to learn about and connect with the animals, and to meet the professionals who care for them,” says the Stampede’s manager of communications, Shannon Greer.

In response to the Humane Society’s claim that the popularity of the events is in decline and animal deaths to blame, Greer says “our rodeo and evening show ticket sales this year are tracking ahead of 2023, which was a record year.  Our community’s participation is a reflection of how important these experiences continue to be to our guests.”

In the weeks leading up to the Calgary Stampede, new billboards popping up across the city are urging Calgarians to skip the rodeo and chuckwagon races. Global News

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