Montreal urban rodeo to go ahead after activists drop legal bid to block it
In January, the announcement that an urban rodeo would be heading to Montreal in August as part of the city’s 375th anniversary celebrations caused a stir among animal rights activists, leading Université de Montreal law professor Alain Roy and a group of students to begin legal proceedings against NomadFest organizers.
The group filed an application for an injunction in May, but reached an out of court agreement Thursday, meaning the festival will go ahead as scheduled.
At the time of the initial injunction, Roy and his students said the rodeo shows would contravene the new article in the Quebec civil code that grants animals the status of “sentient beings,” as well as laws on the well-being and safety of animals adopted by the National Assembly in December 2015.
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Under the agreement, Roy will be allowed to observe the events of the August rodeo in Montreal, and experts will be granted access to examine the animals before and after their participation in rodeo activities.
Festival organizers told Global News in January that rodeos are misunderstood, saying that it wouldn’t make sense to mistreat the animals.
“Rodeos have changed a lot for the last 100 years and actually horses and bulls are athletes for us,” NomadFest producer Maxime Lefebvre said.
“When we work something, a beast that’s worth more between $2,000 and $50,000 you won’t hurt that beast, you will cherish that beast.”
In a press release issued Thursday, the Montreal SPCA — which has been a vocal opponent of the rodeo — said that while it respected Roy’s decision, the organization would continue “to encourage the public to oppose the rodeo and demand its cancellation.”
The SPCA also expressed concern with the tactics used by festival organizers during legal proceedings.
“We are concerned by the fact that the rodeo’s organizers used financial pressure tactics by requiring a $100,000 surety in the case and threatened to sue the professor personally.”
–With files from the Canadian Press
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