A local animal-rights group has written to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge asking them to skip the Calgary Stampede during their stopover in the city next month.
The Vancouver Humane Society sent a letter to Clarence House ‘ the official residence of newlyweds William and Kate ‘ imploring them to steer away from the world’s largest rodeo because their involvement would promote the rodeo as a positive thing.
“The Calgary Stampede rodeo is a spectacle of animal cruelty,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker.
“We’re asking the Royal couple not to take part in any Stampede activities and instead visit a horse sanctuary in Alberta for abused and abandoned horses.”
A lot of Canadians are ashamed of the Stampede, Fricker added, and will be very unhappy if the future king and queen are seen promoting it.
Fricker said the society is opposed to rodeos because they expose animals to fear, pain and stress just for the sake of entertainment.
But Doug Fraser, spokesperson for the Calgary Stampede, said he doesn’t know why the Stampede is being picked on when there’s a minimum of 1,200 rodeos throughout North America.
Stampede officials have consulted with the Calgary Humane Society, he added, and made necessary steps to improve their animal-care practices.
“We’ve reduced the number of chuckwagon outriders from 16 per race to eight,” he said. “We’ve introduced a new fitness-to-compete program where every animal will go through a thorough veterinarian inspection after every event before they come into the park.”
Fraser said he’s hopeful the Royal couple will stop by.
“They’re coming to (an event) like no other, where the Canadian West is perfectly described.”