Calgary Stampede Funding Cut Prompts PETA Appeal

Officials Urged to Save Money, Horses’ Lives by Ending Chuckwagon Races

For Immediate Release:
March 3, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Edmonton, Alta.

In response to Alberta Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board Travis Toews’ decision to cut funding for the Calgary Stampede, PETA sent a letter today urging him to pull all funding for the event’s deadly chuckwagon races, reminding him that more than 70 horses have reportedly died in them—including six during last year’s event alone.

“Officials know full well that it’s a matter of when, not if, more horses will suffer and die in these cruel and dangerous spectacles,” says PETA Senior Manager John Di Leonardo. “PETA is urging the Alberta government to stop funding chuckwagon races, which result in fractured legs, broken backs, heart attacks, and horses’ deaths.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

PETA’s letter to Toews follows.

March 3, 2020

The Honorable Travis Toews

President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Finance of Alberta

Dear Mr. Toews,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide—including many in Alberta—following your ministry’s recent announcement of funding cuts for the Calgary Stampede. To meet your financial restraint goals and prevent horses from suffering and dying, will you please cut funding for the Stampede’s chuckwagon races entirely?

Six horses died during last year’s event alone, including three who were killed in a scene so graphic that a tarp was used to shield the carnage from public view. CBC News has reported more than 70 animal deaths in the chuckwagon races, a list compiled using data from the Calgary Humane Society and media reports, because the Stampede itself declined requests to provide records of animal deaths. Tightening the rules—as the Stampede did in 2010—isn’t enough, as more than a dozen horses have died since then. They’ve sustained fractured legs and broken backs, while others have suffered heart attacks. Anyone watching can see animals foaming at the mouth as their eyes roll back in their heads.

While over a million people visit the fairgrounds annually for cultural exhibits and rides—and upwards of 2.5 million when you include concert attendees—only a fraction go for the chuckwagon races. The midway offers a fun experience for all visitors, but it’s tainted for those who learn about the rising death toll just a few hundred meters away.

Many animal protection organizations across Canada have called for an end to the chuckwagon races at the Calgary Stampede, and celebrities including Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee, and Bob Barker—along with countless Canadian residents—have also taken action on this issue. Will you please use your authority to cut all funding for the chuckwagon races?

Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully yours,

John Di Leonardo

Senior Manager of Animals in Entertainment

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