Three horses are dead and another badly injured following the latest chuckwagon crash at the Calgary Stampede on Thursday night.
The controversial event has claimed the lives of more than 50 horses over the last 26 years, according to the Vancouver Humane Society.
Although the Stampede introduced changes last year aimed at making chuckwagon races safer for both horses and competitors, animal welfare groups say its time the event be banned.
Criticism of the Stampede was particularly prevalent in 2010, when six horses had to be put down -- 3 of which had been running in chuckwagon races. Two horses died after races in 2011.
Chad Harden's wagon takes a serious tumble on Thursday, bringing down a number of his horses and another rider. (CBC)Allowing such races to continue, critics charge, is tantamount to animal cruelty masquerading as entertainment.
When we polled CBC readers last year on whether the chuckwagon race should be cancelled for good, 54 per cent said "Yes" after the death of the first of two horses that died that year.
That number grew to 62 per cent following the death of the second horse.
The sensitivity of the subject was evident in both comment threads. The following two submissions provide a sense of the distance between some supporters and critics.
- "It is long past time our society outgrew the barbaric practice of abusing animals for entertainment ... The most popular excuses for continuing this archaic barbarism distil down to:
1. Tradition: Treating animals this way should be continued because it was done in the past.
2. Comparison: This should be tolerated because someone else somewhere else in some way is doing something worse. The obvious reality that both these excuses are irrational, illogical, ethically repugnant, and wackadoodle nonsense demonstrate the kind of people that support allowing rodeos and events like the chuckwagon races to continue." - Dennis Brady
- "These horses are born and bred to run. This is what they need to do and want to do. For those that are against the sport of chuckwagon racing, before you pass judgement you should ride one of these awesome creatures and you would understand how keen they are to run.
Or you can at least talk to those who work with these horses so you understand this creature before you make an uneducated judgement.
Besides if there are no sports for them to be used in then there is no reason to continue breeding and raising these beautiful creatures and that would be tragic. We certainly don't take cars off the road though thousands of people die in them. There is a risk in living for all creatures. Eliminate the risk, you eliminate the joy of living." - Cheryleann
What do you make of these and other arguments that you've heard? Do you think certain events at the Calgary Stampede should be discontinued? If so, which ones and why?
If not, why not?
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
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