Dear Mr. Bill Mendes,
My name is Mia Tauriac. I spoke with you this afternoon concerning the death of a bull during the Grand National Rodeo matinee on November 4, 2000. I am writing this letter on behalf of my husband, my two children, my mother and my father, who were all present at the event. The purpose of this letter is to express our feelings and our views on what happened.
First, I understand the bull was not killed intentionally. I know that no one actually wanted that to happen. In fact, just before the Flying Teeter Totter they let two horses into the arena to run while the announcer explained that there is absolutely no animal cruelty in the Rodeo. Well Mr. Mendes, after seeing that bull break his neck, and die in the arena, and then hear the announcer contradict himself by saying by saying the bull was knocked out cold, but don't worry, this has happened hundreds of times, I have to question animal cruelty.
I feel that the safety of animals in the rodeo should be one of the most important priorities. Really, what is a rodeo with out the animals? I do not think it takes a rodeo genius to realize that the Flying U teeter-totter is dangerous and should never be used.
My husband grew up on a small farm where raising cattle and having them butchered was the way of life. Coming from this background, my husband is even disgusted with what happened. He says that bulls are unpredictable animals that are full of anger and fury. Knowing that this was an unpredictable animal, he should have never been put in the arena with something he could be injured with or in this case killed. You see, after being taunted by the clown, that bull was charging at a man on the teeter-totter, not a piece of steel that he could never compete with. The man went up on the teeter-totter and the bull did not have a chance to even think about trying to stop. He rammed the base of the teeter-totter. Looking dazed and confused he collapsed and died.
Meanwhile, the announcer did his best at covering up and candy coating the situation by laughing, making jokes, and assuring the audience that this was common and that the bull would be fine. It was obvious that the animal was dead.
Why did the announcer take time to demonstrate that the rodeo is animal cruelty free? And then (when there's a dead animal in the arena) say things like: "that bull's gonna have a big headache when he wakes up and this happens all the time." What got me the most is when he said this has happened hundreds of times. He really contradicted himself and proved that the Rodeo does take part in animal cruelty by allowing these animals to get hurt "hundreds of times." After removing the bull, they let out four more bulls. What, was that suppose to make us forget the awful, sickening scene we just witnessed? Therefore, instead of ending the act with one dead bull they put four more in danger. This was clearly not fair to these unpredictable animals who have no choice in the matter. This was like giving a kid a gun. By the way, I have been told that earlier in the week a man fell off the teeter-totter and broke his leg. Have there been any other injuries I have not heard about?
Now, I need to explain how this has made us feel. My children have been waiting three weeks to see this rodeo. They watch it on t.v., they pretend they are bull riders, they have talked about nothing else but bulls and cowboys. After seeing what happened, my five-year-old was screaming for his dad to help that bull and to tell those people to get rid of that teeter-totter. He cried himself to sleep on the way home. He had planned to do a show and tell in his kindergarten class on Tuesday about the rodeo. We bought a $5 program for him to show. Now he has nothing good to tell about the rodeo. We were all so sick about what we had seen we could not hardly even eat dinner. I paid money to laugh, have fun, and experience a rodeo. I cannot believe I paid money to watch an animal suffer and die. As for my little boys, what they witnessed was so traumatic it will probably never be erased from their memories. Here are the copies of our tickets that you requested for my refund. I appreciate your understanding in this matter. I hope that the Cow Palace will put a ban on the use of such "contraptions" as the Flying U Teeter-totter in future rodeos held in your arena.