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Animal advocates calling for animal cruelty charges after horse dies at Selkirk rodeo

A horse dies of injury at a Manitoba rodeo over the weekend, sparking animal advocates to call for events like these to be permanently banned. Alex Karpa reports.
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Animal advocates are calling for animal cruelty charges to be laid after a horse died from injuries during a rodeo in Selkirk, Manitoba over the weekend.

During the Bronco Riding event at Triple S Fair and Rodeo in Selkirk, a moment captured on camera shows a horse injuring its leg and repeatedly falling, shortly after leaving the chute.

“It’s pretty sad to see. Of course, with any kind of sport, there is a risk of injury,” said Sherri Anderson, president of the Barefoot Ranch: Manitoba Horse Rescue & Sanctuary.

The Barefoot Ranch, located in Teulon, Manitoba, north of Winnipeg, is a horse rescue that takes in horses that are mistreated or unwanted and provides them with food, water, shelter, and vet services. Anderson says she wants to see more precautions taken at events like rodeos.

“Some of the events, there are a lot more risks than others. Maybe we could have some of the events and not others, or maybe there are better ways of doing things. It would just be nice if there was an assessment done to see if things can improve,” Anderson explained.

Kaitlyn Mitchell from Animal Justice says incidents like this happen at rodeos all the time. She says what makes this situation unique is that there is footage of the injury.

“I really hope that something comes of this tragedy. I hope that it causes folks to take a long hard look at what kind of practices we want to see happening in Manitoba. Events like Bronc riding are animal abuse dressed up as entertainment, pure and simple,” said Mitchell.

“The video is absolutely heartbreaking. It’s hard to watch, frankly.”

Mitchell says events like Bronc riding are known to cause injuries and even death, like in this case. Recently, another horse died at the Calgary Stampede during one of the heats of the chuckwagon races.

Mitchell says events like these are unacceptable.

“I think we really need to examine rodeos and the types of events that should be allowed in Manitoba. Right now, our law is silent on that issue. Though it’s clear you can cause unnecessary pain and suffering, which happened here. I think we need clarity. Events like Bronc riding and calf roping should not be allowed in 2023.”

Mitchell says her advocacy group, along with the Winnipeg Humane Society, have reported the incident to law enforcement and are requesting they act under Manitoba’s Animal Care Act and the Criminal Code. Mitchell says rodeos are banned in several jurisdictions around the world including Vancouver and Port Moody, B.C.

“Many might chalk it up to being a freak incident which unfortunately does occur, however, when we are putting these animals in these situations where we know that the conditions have the potential to cause fatalities just for the sake of family entertainment, we have to re-evaluate where we are seeking out entertainment from,” said Brittany Semeniuk, an animal welfare specialist with the Winnipeg Humane Society.

In this case, Semeniuk says the horse was put down right on the spot because the injury to the horse was so severe.

“Anatomically, it is very difficult for horses to heal when they have severely fractured or broken limbs. Unfortunately, what we see happening, it is much more humane for these animals to be euthanized and often put down right on the spot.”

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