British Columbia

Humane society alleges cattle shocked by electric prods at B.C. rodeo

The Vancouver Humane Society released photos showing a man with what appears to be a Hot-Shot electric cattle prod at the Quesnel rodeo.

'In our view it's pretty clear the animal is being shocked just to make it perform,' says animal rights worker

A model of electric cattle prod appears to be in the hands of a rodeo contractor as bulls are being released from the chute, according to the Vancouver Humane Society. (Vancouver Humane Society)

A Vancouver-based animal rights group claims that electric prods were used to shock cattle into performing at the Quesnel Rodeo after sending a photographer to the event earlier this month.

The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) released photos of a man holding what appears to be an electric prod during the bull-riding event at the city's annual rodeo. Photos of a similar incident at the Chilliwack Fair rodeo were released last year.

The use of rods in riding events is prohibited by the B.C. Rodeo Association — the province's primary rodeo-governing body.

"Our concern is that these electric prods are being used on animals, perhaps routinely in rodeos in B.C. and across Canada, which is concerning because, it's just cruelty," said Peter Fricker, a Vancouver Humane Society spokesperson.

"In our view, it's pretty clear the animal is being shocked just to make it perform," Fricker said.

CBC News reached out to the man believed to be depicted in both sets of photos, but did not receive a response.

The B.C. Rodeo Association said it is aware of the alleged incident and does not condone the use of electric cattle prods.

"This matter will be dealt with according to the rules and regulations set out by the British Columbia Rodeo Association.," said president Gord Puhallo in an e-mailed statement to CBC News.

Those regulations include fines up to $250 that can be imposed on contractors who violate the rules.

Quesnel Rodeo president Ray Jasper declined to comment on the alleged incident.

A man holding what appears to be an electric cattle prod near the area where a bull is released for the bull riding event. (Vancouver Humane Society)

Electric cattle prods

The electric prod shown in the photos appears to be a device known as a "Hot-Shot," which can generate 4,500 volts, according to the Vancouver Humane Society.

The Vancouver Humane Society says it's the second time in two months it has documented an alleged incident of electric cattle prodding. (Vancouver Humane Society)

Under the B.C. Rodeo Association's 2019 rules, contestants can be disqualified for the mistreatment of any livestock, including misuse of electric prods.

According to the National Farm Animal Care Council's code of practice — voluntary guidelines for handling farm animals — electric prods can be used only to help move cattle when animal or human safety is at risk or, "as a last resort when all other humane alternatives have failed and only when cattle have a clear path to move."

The B.C. Rodeo Association's rule book states prods can only be used in extreme circumstances, with approval from both the contest and and the contractor.

Photos taken at the Quesnel Rodeo show an electric prod, which appears to be a device known as a “Hot-Shot," was in use at the bull-riding event. The Hot-Shot generates 4500 volts. (Vancouver Humane Society )

CBC News reached out to several rodeo officials who would not comment officially but questioned the validity of the photos released by the Vancouver Humane Society.

The humane society has called for the cancellations of bull riding events in the past. It actively campaigns against events like rodeos, dog sledding, and circuses with exotic or wild animals.

A man appears to use an electric prod on a bull during an event at the Chilliwack Fair rodeo in B.C. in August 2018, according to the Vancouver Humane Society. (Vancouver Humane Society )

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.