Animal Conservation

Last roundup? Rodeo arrives in LA amid possible ban – NBC Los Angeles

The Professional Bull Riders Tour returns to Los Angeles this week for what animal rights activists hope will be the last time, pending a possible city ban on tools used in rodeos that have yet to receive the final approval.

Tuesday night’s event at the Arena comes nearly a year after the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban electric prods, shocking devices and other implements from rodeos.

Last year’s motion, introduced by Councilman Bob Blumenfield, directed the city attorney to prepare an order barring the following devices from Los Angeles rodeos and rodeo-related events:

  • electric prods;
  • shocking devices;
  • sidewall or bucking straps;
  • lashing cables;
  • sharpened or fixed spurs; and
  • wheels.

It was modeled after the 1992 Pittsburgh ordinance, which banned the same tools, according to the motion.

“Rodeos often use a number of inhumane implements…to encourage aggressive behavior in animals to produce an entertainment product. Animals sustain significant injuries during common rodeo events such as bull riding and broncos, steer wrestling and calf lasso,” the motion reads.

“Many animals are put down as a result of injuries sustained during these events…It is time for our city to act in the interest of animal welfare on this issue as it has done in the past to other questions.”

The city attorney finalized the language in December. It still has to pass the council’s staff, audits and animal welfare committee before returning for a final vote by the city council and then the approval of the mayor.

The PAW committee has yet to schedule the draft ordinance for a vote.

Sean Gleason, CEO and commissioner of the ACB, calls the proposed ordinance “unnecessary legislation” that will undo events he says benefit the local community.

“We are watching this legislation closely. If it passes, we will not have events in Los Angeles,” Gleason told City News Service. He added that PBR has many rules in place to ensure its animals are treated well and offered to “invite members of the LA City Council to come to the Center on [Feb. 22] to learn about the animal athletes who are the real rock stars of the sport, get the best care, and live long, beautiful lives – four to five times longer than animals who don’t get the chance to compete.”

Gleason added that “with all the problems LA faces and all the good western sports do for our communities, we believe that once members of the city council come to see a PBR show, they will reject a harmful ordinance that will kill cowboy sports in a town with a rich Western heritage.”

PBR also claims the ordinance would ban the Mexican and Mexican-American sport of Charreria and harm the black community in Los Angeles by banning the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo from holding events in Los Angeles.

The Bill Pickett Rodeo, which honors “Black Cowboys and Cowgirls and their contributions to building the West” according to its website, holds events in July at the Industry Hills Expo Center in the City of Industry. The proposed Los Angeles order would not affect these events.

Last Chance for Animals is pushing the city to do even more, banning rodeos altogether. LCA is circulating a petition, which had nearly 24,000 signatures towards its goal of 25,000 on Sunday.

As they have done in recent years for PBR events at the old Staples Center, activists from LCA and other groups plan to protest Tuesday’s rodeo.

“Rodeos are a hideous spectacle of animal abuse and brutality. We need more peace, love and tolerance in our society, NOT violence against innocent farm animals,” said Heather, a local animal rights activist with LCA who has organized rodeo protests in Los Angeles for over 10 years.

Counter-protesters defending what they described as “Western sports” were also expected on Tuesday.