BULLFIGHTING & RODEO

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1998:

CHARC on June 1 disclosed 30
hours of the most intensely revealing undercover
video of bullfighting ever produced,
obtained during a three-month close-focus surveillance
of a variety of corridas in Mexico.
Included are the intentionally prolonged torture-killings
of 27 bulls, systematic torment of
bulls before they are ever released into the
ring, children crying as their parents compel
them to watch, wounded bulls who repeatedly
turn away from opportunities to gore and trample
clumsy matadors, and prominent backdrops
advertising Pepsi-Cola and Kentucky
Fried Chicken––apparently the biggest sponsors
of Mexican bullfighting. Many of the
downed Mexican victims are plainly still alive
and conscious when their ears are hacked off
to present to their killers. CHARC undertook
the bullfighting surveillance in hopes of dissuading
U.S. television executives who see


potential profits in airing bullfights. P r i m e
Time Live, 60 Minutes, and the Discovery
channel all broadcast “fluffy, highly promotional
pieces on bullfighting” in late 1997,
CHARC founder Steve Hindi charged, offering
the CHARC footage to any TV program
willing to tell the whole story.
“The Illinois Humane Care for
Animals Act prohibits a fight between a
person and an animal,” Hindi warned S u e
Klinkhamer, mayor of St. Charles, Illinois,
on the eve of the Kane County Fair rodeo, to
be held in St. Charles on June 19-20. “This
law effectively banned bear wrestling in
Illinois, and it also renders steer wrestling,
calf roping, and bronc busting illegal.”
Recounted Hindi to media, when Klinkhamer
and the St. Charles city council ignored him,
“We not only read the law to them, we even
made video footage of indefensible cruelty
available to all city council members. Footage
available to the city council showed that the
rodeo company producing the Kane County
Fair was guilty of especially egregious cruelty.
We offered them footage of an animal with
sand intentionally thrown in his eyes, a calf
who was intentionally kicked in the head, and
other indefensible acts that fell completely outside
the rodeo performance. They didn’t want
to see it.” Earlier, the Kane County board had
referred the matter to the St. Charles council.
Hindi at a June 5 training seminar
for anti-cruelty enforcement officers sponsored
by the Humane Society of the U.S.
challenged Illinois state veterinarian D a v i d
Bromwell and Alison Abel of the DuPage
County State’s Attorney’s Office to explain
just why they wouldn’t prosecute the many
cases of tail-yanking, needlessly shocking,
and kicking cattle (even in the face), and
apparent neglect of old wounds that CHARC
videotaped at the 1997 DuPage County Fair
rodeo––and, when they refused to answer,
showed the video to many of the assembled
anti-cruelty officers. Abel reportedly told the
officers that she would be glad to meet with
Hindi to discuss the matter at her office, but
on June 10 apparently refused to set an
appointment. Also on June 5, however, Abel
advised the DuPage County Fair Association
that CHARC had documented misuse of electric
prods, plus “improper construction of
chutes, overwork of animals, and the use of
unnecessary force on animals. Due to evidentiary
issues,” Abel said, “this office did not
undertake the prosecution of these allegations.
However, we did determine that the concerns
voiced by CHARC were valid. It is therefore
recommended that the county fair hire a different
rodeo operator and/or have animal control
personnel review the rodeo’s pracices and procedures
prior to allowing them to operate.”
On June 9, meanwhile, Hindi
zapped himself twice with an electric cattle
prod at a meeting of the Kane County Board,
and dared International Professional Rodeo
Association representative Larry Kilduff t o
try it. Kilduff refused. Hindi unsuccessfully
appealed to the board to ban the use of electroshock
to make livestock buck at the forthcoming
Kane County Fair.
1989-1990 World Champion AllAround
Cowboy Ty Murray has refused an
invitation to debate rodeo cruelty with Hindi in
a mutually acceptable public forum.
The Fort Worth city council is to
decide in late summer whether to spend
$365,000 during the next fiscal year to initiate
daily demonstration cattle drives between the
old Fort Worth Stockyards and a pasture
alongside the Trinity River north of downtown.
The goal would be to boost tourism.
Special Olympics Connecticut
executives on June 2 voted to discontinue
association with fundraising rodeos, following
the death of a steer from a broken neck
during a performance by the Double R World
Championship Rodeo company the preceding
weekend. Sponsored by the Guilford Police
Benevolent Association, the rodeo also benefited
the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which
reportedly had no comment.
The Nevada Department of
T r a n s p o r t a t i o n in early June told the
Mesquite town council to spare the bull and
keep a proposed July 11 “running of the bulls”
modeled after the annual run in Pamplona,
Spain, off state-maintained rights of way, but
that didn’t stop the Mesquiters, who voted a
day later to go ahead with it––on Main Street,
however, rather than Mesquite Boulevard, the
seven-lane business route connecting with I-
15. The Mesquite council was persuaded by
Phoenix promoter Phil Immordino, of
Running of the Bulls America Inc., that as
many as 1,000 runners will pay $50 each to
participate, and that up to 10,000 tourists will
come to watch. Immordino previously tried to
stage bull runs in Phoenix and Long Beach.
Mesquite, 80 miles north of Las Vegas, in
March 1996 tried to draw crowds by inviting
motorcycle stuntman Sherman “Butch”
Laswell to jump over a three-story walkway
above the main street of town. Laswell was
killed when a gust of wind caused him to miss
his landing ramp. Protest against the proposed
bull run has come mainly from outside
Mesquite––but according to Dan Egan of The
Salt Lake Tribune, “Many in this heavily
Latter Day Saints town bristle at the prospect
of a pack of strapping Australian lads” called
Thunder From Down Under, who are
booked to dance semi-nude at a local casino.

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