Advertisement

Animal rights group asks Calgary Stampede parade marshal Kevin Costner to step aside

Kevin Costner. Paramount+

An animal rights group says it has sent a letter to Kevin Costner urging him to step away from the Calgary Stampede.

The Hollywood actor was named parade marshal for this year’s event.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says in a news release that the Stampede rodeo’s chuckwagon races have reportedly caused the deaths of more than 70 horses — including half a dozen in 2019 when the Stampede last held the races.

Read more: Academy Award winning actor Kevin Costner named 2022 Calgary Stampede parade marshal

Read next: Nestle to chop, slice and freeze sales of Delissio, Lean Cuisine in Canada

The Stampede’s executive said at that time that it would do a thorough review of the safety of chuckwagon racing.

New rules were brought in 2011, requiring veterinarians to inspect animals arriving at the Stampede and before every race. A mandatory rest day after every four days was brought in and changes on the track were also made.

Story continues below advertisement

The Stampede has always said the safety of animals and people is its No. 1 priority.

No one from the organization could immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

The chucks, as they are informally called, were cancelled the last two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but are to go ahead this year.

“During these reckless and dangerous races, teams of horses are forced to pull wagons around a track at breakneck speeds,” PETA writes in the letter to Costner.

“Throughout the ordeal, they can be seen foaming at the mouth with their eyes rolling back in their heads. Many have sustained broken legs or backs or suffered heart attacks.”

Read more: ‘Succession’ star James Cromwell superglues hand to Starbucks counter in protest

Read next: ‘Dances with Wolves’ actor arrested, accused of running sex cult, abusing young girls

Story continues below advertisement

PETA is asking Costner, who has starred in movies shot in the Calgary area, to dissociate himself from the event.

“Year after year, this reckless rodeo runs gentle horses to death,” senior vice-president Lisa Lange said in the release Thursday. “PETA is calling on Kevin Costner to cut ties with the Calgary Stampede before it costs more animals’ lives.”

Animal welfare groups, including the Vancouver and Calgary humane societies and Animal Justice, have long urged that the races and other rodeo events be stopped because they amount to animal cruelty.

Click to play video: 'Actor James Cromwell glues hand to Starbucks counter in protest over cost of non-dairy alternatives'
Actor James Cromwell glues hand to Starbucks counter in protest over cost of non-dairy alternatives

Animal Justice is a national organization that works to improve legal protection for animals.

Chuckwagon races are a nightly spectacle during the 10-day Stampede. Crowds watch as horse-drawn wagons thunder around a dirt track accompanied by outriders.

Story continues below advertisement

This year’s Stampede runs from July 8 to July 17.

Sponsored content