‘Cruel Ain’t Your Color’: Keith Urban Gets Empathy Lesson From PETA Before Salinas Rodeo Show

For Immediate Release:
July 9, 2024

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Monterrey, Calif.

Ahead of his performance on July 12 at the California Rodeo Salinas, PETA sent a letter today to musician Keith Urban urging him to cancel the show and stop promoting rodeos, in which cows (including calves), horses, and other animals are terrorized, injured, and often killed. Because Urban has ignored earlier pleas to cut ties with cruel rodeos, PETA also sent the singer a free Empathy Kit, which offers a simple, step-by-step guide to cultivating compassion and recognizing that all sentient beings experience pain, fear, love, and joy.

A calf is slammed to the ground and tied up at a rodeo. Credit: PETA

“Keith, somebody like you should know better than to promote these barbaric spectacles, where bulls are zapped with electric prods, calves’ necks are twisted as they’re violently slammed to the ground, and horses are viciously spurred into bucking,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA is calling on Urban to be a light in this world, take a lesson from our Empathy Kit, and pledge never to support such cruelty again.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers its free Empathy Kits for anyone who needs a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Urban follows.

Dear Keith,

I hope this e-mail finds you well. I’m writing on behalf of PETA regarding your upcoming performance at the California Rodeo Salinas. We’ve contacted you before on this topic and truly regret that you are still promoting this kind of animal abuse, so we’re hoping our Empathy Kit will sway you. It points out that empathy isn’t just a feeling—it involves action, and our kit is a step-by-step guide to cultivating true compassion. You could get a head start by choosing to participate only in entertainment with willing participants who aren’t harmed for your fun.

Your deep love for your animal companions is evident, so it’s baffling to see a disconnect when it comes to cows, calves, and horses who are violently harassed and abused in rodeos. These animals deserve the same consideration as the ones you cherish at home. Cows and horses used in rodeos are often zapped with electric “hotshots” to force them out of a chute, and calves’ necks are twisted as they’re violently slammed onto the ground at high speed. Many animals sustain fatal injuries, such as broken backs, or die from heart attacks or aneurysms. If they live to become too old or worn out to be useful to their exploiters, they’re usually sent to the slaughterhouse. Please consider the fact that each and every one of these individuals feels pain and fear in the same way we do. Every moment of their suffering is real. Every animal is someone.

We urge you to cancel your performance at the California Rodeo Salinas and to pledge never to support such cruelty again. It’s time to act with empathy and make a better life for all animals, showing that somebody like you can lead the way to a kinder world. Won’t you?

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.

All the best,

Nicole Cummins

Senior Officer, Celebrity Relations

PETA | Los Angeles

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