Calgary Stampede’s Deadly Chuckwagon Races Condemned as Extreme Cruelty to Animals, PETA Says

'Spectacle of Animal Abuse' Poses a Reckless Risk to Horses' Lives—and Is Arguably Illegal

For Immediate Release:
July 13, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Calgary, Alta. – Following reports that a horse sustained a broken leg during a chuckwagon race on July 9 at the Calgary Stampede and had to be destroyed, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—fired off a letter today urging Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to issue an order banning those races at the Calgary Stampede, an event in which dozens of horses have been killed over the years.

In the letter, PETA points out that horses used in chuckwagon races sustain broken legs and backs as well as heart attacks—suffering that should subject organizers to prosecution under Alberta’s Animal Protection Act.

“The Calgary Stampede has gotten away with killing horses and literally running them to death,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on officials to put the brakes on an archaic event that should have died out with the covered wagon’s last ride.”

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PETA’s letter to Alberta’s premier follows.

July 13, 2017

The Honorable Rachel Notley
Premier of the Province of Alberta

Dear Ms. Notley,
On behalf of PETA and our 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, hundreds of thousands of whom are Canadian, I’m writing to ask you to direct the Calgary Stampede to ban chuckwagon races immediately. Already, one horse is dead after sustaining a fatal injury on Sunday, July 9, and more will surely pay with their lives. Over the years, dozens of horses have died during these dangerous and reckless races.

Horses have sustained fractured legs and broken backs and have suffered heart attacks. Any casual observer of the races can see horses foaming at the mouth and their eyes rolling back in their heads. After six horses, including four used in chuckwagon racing, died at the Stampede in 2010, rules were tightened. Yet the carnage continues: More than a dozen animals have died since.

Many animal-protection organizations across Canada have called for an end to the chuckwagon races at the Calgary Stampede, referring to them as “a spectacle of animal abuse.”

Alberta’s Animal Protection Act prohibits causing animals distress, and it defines an animal in distress as one who is “abused or subjected to undue hardship, privation or neglect.” Since horses used in these races surely endure hardship, the event may be in violation of the law.

Caring people around the world are watching and bracing themselves for more bad news to come out of Calgary—and are incredulous that the chuckwagon races continue. We urge you to use your position and authority to put an end to this deadly, archaic event. Thank you for your time and attention to this urgent matter.

Respectfully yours,

Tracy Reiman

Executive Vice President

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind