‘The Longest Ride’ Premiere Draws PETA Protest Over Rodeo Cruelty

PETA: There's Nothing Romantic About Tormenting Bulls

For Immediate Release:
April 7, 2015

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – Holding signs proclaiming, “Real Men Don’t Hurt Animals,” PETA members converged outside the TCL Chinese Theatre at the Monday night premiere of The Longest Ride, which included a live promotional rodeo. Photos of the protest are available here.

“Nicholas Sparks should stick to long-lost lovers kissing in the rain, because there’s nothing romantic about violence to animals,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “The rodeo is a disgusting show in which pathetic people bully terrified animals who are simply trying to escape from their abusers.”

PETA wrote to the production company, studio executives at Fox, and director George Tillman Jr. after learning that Sparks’ book would be adapted for the big screen but got no response.

“Fox should have done the right thing when PETA wrote during pre-production and used existing rodeo footage of bull riding rather than tormenting more animals for a movie,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “Then it went even further and promoted the cruel spectacle by putting it on the red carpet. It’s 2015. At a time when elephants are being retired from the circus and SeaWorld is on the skids, Fox is way out of step with public opinion.”

Fox’s claims that the American Humane Association (AHA) monitored the film are also misleading. A recent investigation into the organization by The Hollywood Reporter revealed what PETA has been helping to bring to light for years—that the AHA’s monitoring of film and television productions is woefully inadequate. More than two dozen animals died during the production of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, in spite of AHA monitoring. The AHA does not monitor pre-production training, living conditions, or the disposition of animals after they are no longer useful to their trainers.

As PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—pointed out to passersby, rodeo employees use electric prods, sharp sticks, and painfully tight “bucking” straps to torment bulls into action. Common injuries to the animals include broken bones, extensive bruising, and massive internal bleeding. Severely injured bulls are sent to slaughter.

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“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