The Vancouver Humane Society is calling on the Calgary Stampede to suspend its chuckwagon racing event, following the accidental death of three horses Thursday night. The Stampede previously added new safety rules for the event after six horses died in 2010, but the VHS says this obviously hasn’t done enough to protect the animals’ welfare. The organization now wants the Stampede to halt the event and conduct a full safety review.
“Clearly, the Stampede’s much publicized safety improvements have failed to make the race any safer,” pointed out VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker in a statement. “Horses continue to die needlessly. This has to stop.” During Thursday’s race, one of the lead horses suffered what a Stampede spokesperson described as “a fatal event.” The horse collapsed, taking down other animals with it; two of the other horses had to be euthanized due to injuries and a third is in surgery but expected to recover.
This isn’t the first time the VHS has gone head-to-head with the Calgary Stampede over animal safety issues. They currently have an ongoing campaign to end the practice of calf-roping during the rodeo. The event is inhumane, says the organization, because it causes fear and stress in the young animals, and can injure or outright kill them if they’re handled too roughly. You can use the VHS website to send a customizable form letter to the Mayor of Calgary, urging him to stop the event.