A new bull riding event in Lumby is proving controversial, but as the saying goes, all publicity is good publicity.
The Vancouver Humane Society is speaking out against a fundraiser called the “Bull Bash and Barn Dance” arguing the sport is inhumane. However, organizers say the complaints may actually be creating more interest in the spectacle.
The Vancouver Humane Society wrote a letter to a local paper arguing bull riding amounts to causing animals stress for the sake of entertainment.
“We know that this event does cause stress to bulls. A flank strap is tightened around the animal’s hind quarters and that’s what makes it buck. It’s purely the use of fear and distress to make an animal preform and we think that is cruel,” Peter Fricker, the humane society’s communications director, said.
“We had contact from local residents in Lumby who were concerned about this event and in particular about the animal welfare aspect.”
However, those putting on the event are defending bull riding.
“If I thought it was inhumane, I wouldn’t be putting my name to it,” said organizer Angie Clowry.
The company providing the bulls that will be used in Lumby said the animal are athletes who are bread to buck and very well taken care of.
Barbara McDonnell from D & B Rodeo Stock contends some of the humane society’s statements are false. She said flank straps are not tightened on the bulls and the animals are not under stress.
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“The flank strap is not tightened up around them. It is just basically hanging there. It tickles them,” said McDonnell.
Clowry admitted the publicity around the controversy is actually leading to increased interest in the event.
The human society said it is not concerned about the local publicity voicing their concerns create.
“It many give some short term boost to the organizers but it also plants a seed in the mind of a lot of people in these communities that there is something wrong with this event and they should take a closer look at it,” said Fricker.
Despite the concerns, organizers plan to go ahead with the bull riding aspect of the so called event at the Pat Duke Arena next month.
The event is also a fundraiser for upgrades and maintenance for the building.