Calgary – Calgary Stampede veterinarians euthanized a steer Wednesday after it was injured during competition.
Stampede officials say they will go over event video to determine any contributing factors and look for ways it can anticipate and eliminate any of those factors in the future.
Competitor Zane Hankel, from Redcliff, Alberta, says “it was a perfectly good run. That steer went straight down the middle. I actually got up not having any idea that steer was even hurt”.
When Hankel realized something was wrong, he called for assistance and three veterinarians rushed to the infield.
A black tarp was held up to block the crowd from seeing the injured steer.
The animal was taken away on a stretcher
Veterinarian Dr. Greg Evans says “It was a severe neck injury and basically complete paralysis… which is untreatable. So that’s why I elected to humanely euthanize the steer”.
This is the first animal death of the 2013 Stampede.
Rodeo rules were changed three years ago.
A “dog fall” rule was instituted which prevents a cowboy from continuing to wrestle a steer that has splayed its legs and cannot fall safely.
But that does not appear to be the cause in this death.
“We never intentionally hurt them. You could say it’s no different than a hockey player going in to the corner taking a hit and getting hurt. It’s a rare freak deal,” says Hankel.
Animal rights group are speaking out.
Michael Alvarez-Toye with the Calgary Animal Rights Coalition says “It need never have happened. When you’ve got animals forced into situations where there’s extreme risk of injury, of cruel abusive behaviours perpetuated on them, it’s inevitable”.
Another group that has been very vocal against the rodeo and chuckwagons, the Vancouver Humane Society, is demanding a ban on steer wrestling for the remainder of this Stampede.
The Stampede says over the past decade more than a thousand steers have competed in this event and only one other steer has died as a result.