Calgary

3rd animal dies at Calgary Stampede

A steer has died at the Calgary Stampede, the third animal fatality during this year's rodeo and chuckwagon competitions.
Joey Bell Jr. takes down the steer during competition at the Calgary Stampede rodeo on Thursday. ((CBC))

A steer has died at the Calgary Stampede, the third animal fatality during this year's rodeo and chuckwagon competitions.

The animal suffered a serious spinal injury after cowboy Joey Bell Jr. from Athens, Texas, took it down in the steer-wrestling event on Thursday afternoon.

The steer was taken away on a stretcher in front of a full arena, and was later put down.

Doug Fraser, a Stampede spokesman, said the animal was injured during what looked like a standard steer-wrestling move.

"After further assessment and treatment, the vet determined the animal suffered a serious spinal injury and the decision was made to euthanize the steer to avoid further suffering," he said.

"To lose an animal regardless of the circumstances is always difficult for the Stampede and all the rodeo participants."

Death for sake of entertainment

The death had animal-rights activists up in arms.

"We think it's tragic that another animal has had to die for the sake of entertainment," said Peter Fricker of the Vancouver Humane Society.

"This event — steer wrestling — is particularly offensive, given that it has absolutely no connection to historic or modern ranching practices."

CBC Sports commentator Doug Dirks, who has covered hundreds of Stampede rodeos, said this was the first time he had seen such an incident in steer wrestling.

On Tuesday night, a horse broke a leg during a GMC Rangeland Derby chuckwagon race and had to be euthanized. On Sunday, a horse collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack a few hours after competing in the chuckwagon competition.

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