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The Vancouver Humane Society, which ran an ad in the Calgary Herald questioning the ethics of calf roping, has drawn the support of British members of Parliament and an animal rights group based in England. ((CBC))

More than 50 members of Parliament in Britain have signed a motion condemning rodeo and calling on the Canadian government to take steps to stop the "immense cruelty" of events like the Calgary Stampede, which begins Friday.

The motion, tabled in the U.K. House of Commons Thursday, coincided with an announcement from the League Against Cruel Sports that it is pressuring travel companies to stop promoting package tours to the Calgary Stampede.

The Surrey, U.K.-based group is asking its supporters to write to the Canadian High Commission to voice their opposition to rodeo.

P.O.V.: Should the Calgary Stampede ban calf roping? Take our poll.

"Canada is a beautiful country with so much to do, there really is no need to be abusing animals in this way for entertainment," said a statement on the group's website.

"We know from our opinion polls that British tourists vote with their feet on other animal welfare issues, such as bullfighting, and we will be persuading them to do the same with the rodeo."

Rodeo has been banned in Britain since 1934.

The league also praised the Vancouver Humane Society for its condemnation this week of the rodeo at the Calgary Stampede.

'Visitors to Canada just don't know about the cruelty involved in rodeo until they've attended one.' —Peter Fricker, Vancouver Humane Society

On Monday, the Vancouver group published a $15,000 full-page advertisement in the Calgary Herald questioning the ethics of the calf-roping event.

The ad, which appeared in the newspaper's sports section, shows a calf on its side while a cowboy tries to tie its legs with a rope. The text asks: "That's entertainment?"

The Vancouver animal rights group said the British support is a first step toward internationalizing opposition to rodeos in Canada. 

"Visitors to Canada just don't know about the cruelty involved in rodeo until they've attended one," said spokesman Peter Fricker.  "We aim to make sure they know beforehand."

The Calgary Stampede claims to have a "disciplined approach to animal care," with the Calgary Humane Society and the Alberta SPCA monitoring events on-site each year, according to the Stampede website.