Gov’t Chuckwagon Defence Doesn’t Hold Water, PETA Says

After Six Horses Die at This Year's Calgary Stampede, Group Says Future Deaths Will Be on Minister's Hands

For Immediate Release:
August 9, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Edmonton – This morning, PETA fired back at Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dreeshen in response to his defence of the Calgary Stampede’s chuckwagon races, in which six horses died this year—three of whom were killed in a scene so graphic that organizers reportedly placed a tarp over their fatally injured bodies to shield them from public view.

In a letter sent to PETA earlier this week, Mr. Dreeshen boasted of the stampede’s “many animal care protocols” and lauded the Canadian Chuckwagon Association’s “world-class husbandry work”—despite the deaths that have continued to mount even after additional protection measures were implemented in 2010 and 2015—and noted no further protective measures.

“Year after year, the same empty promises about animal care protocols are offered up with a wink and a nudge, only for more horses to suffer and die,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on Mr. Dreeshen to stop the suffering and deaths of horses, and that can be done only by ending chuckwagon races.”

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 Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dreeshen follows.

August 9, 2019

The Honorable Devin Dreeshen

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Dear Mr. Dreeshen,

Your attempted reassurances about Alberta’s “commit[ment] to the protection of animals” do not hold water. Year after year, the same empty promises about animal care protocols are offered up with a wink and a nudge, only for yet more horses to suffer and die. If this is what Alberta considers “world-class husbandry work,” something is seriously wrong.

Are the chuckwagon races more important to your Ministry than horses’ lives? Also, please inform us what specifically is being done to end the carnage and how any measures will be enforced. Increased regulations imposed in 2010 and 2015 have completely failed the horses.

PETA’s 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide—many of them based in Alberta—along with every animal protection organization on the continent and countless people around the world hoped the death of six horses in this year’s Calgary Stampede would at least prompt honest introspection. However, your rote dismissal of all concerns for horses makes it clear that as far as you are concerned, your job is to cater to bullies, not safeguard the animals, which does not meet “the expectations of Albertans.” In the future, many more horses will no doubt die at the Stampede, and their deaths will now be on your hands if you do not reconsider your position.

The midway at the Calgary Stampede offers a fun experience for all visitors who travel to attend. Don’t allow that to be tainted for attendees by forcing them to consider the rising death toll occurring just a few hundred meters away at the chuckwagon races.

Please do the right thing by canceling these destructive, often fatal chuckwagon races.

Yours truly,

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