B.C. Green Party resolution calls for end to rodeos

The B.C. Green Party has passed a resolution calling for a provincewide end to rodeos.

The Greens passed the resolution with an 80-per-cent majority at its annual general meeting in Kelowna on Saturday.

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The strong showing by the Greens opposing rodeos is welcomed by Peter Fricker, spokesperson of the Vancouver Humane Society.

“We’re extremely pleased, especially because the resolution appears to apply to the whole province,” Fricker said on Sunday.

The society has put intense pressure on the organizers of the Luxton Rodeo in Langford and the Calgary Stampede to stop competitions such as calf roping due to risk of injury to animals.

A similar campaign was waged at the Cloverdale Rodeo over the past decade and as a result, four key events were dropped.

“The Cloverdale Rodeo is now one of the least inhumane rodeos in North America,” Fricker said.

It’s hoped that the B.C. Greens can set an example for governments across North America. It’s the first time a political party has passed a resolution banning rodeos, Fricker said.

“We think it’s a sign of the times, that it’s obviously a change of public attitudes, at least in B.C.,” Fricker said.

It’s hoped that rodeos will evolve as circuses have, where animals such as elephants and tigers are not used as props.

“Today there’s a progressive attitude toward the treatment of animals,” said Fricker, citing the outcry against whales in captivity at the Vancouver Public Aquarium and other aquariums in North America.

Only a small number of people attend rodeos so it’s difficult to educate the larger population of how animals are treated in the arena, Fricker said.

“What people don’t realize is most of the rodeo has nothing to do with real ranching, for instance no real cowboy on a ranch wrestles steers,” Fricker said.

Calf roping is done on the range but it’s done more slowly and gently, he said: “The whole point is not to injure the animal, but in most cases to help an injured animal.”

Competitive calf-roping is done as fast as possible and with a big cash prize to the one who gets it done in the smallest amount of time.

“There’s no doubt there’s a lot of skill involved, but the idea that it’s related to agriculture or Canadian ranchland heritage is just not true,” said Fricker.

smcculloch@timescolonist.com

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