St. Charles passes portion of activist's proposed rodeo law

May 8, 2001

The Daily Herald (Chicago Suburbs)

By Erica Meltzer

The St. Charles City Council Monday approved a limited version of a law that animal rights activist Steve Hindi said would remove the cruelest part of rodeos.

The council took a pass on the Elburn resident's suggestions that the city ban spurs, the use of electric prods and rodeo participation by people under 18, and that a veterinarian be on site at all times.

Instead, the council approved a change to the animal cruelty portion of the city code that would ban the use of electric prods inside chutes unless the safety of a person was threatened and that would require a veterinarian to be on call.

While rodeo organizers said the change reflects common practice in the industry, Hindi called it an important first step.

"If you approve this, I think you are taking a stand that animals deserve some measure of protection," he said before the council members voted 8-2 to approve the measure.

Aldermen Don Nippert and Ron Silkaitis voted against the ordinance because they wanted to make some changes to the proposal.

Silkaitis wanted a veterinarian to be required on site at all times.

"If they have paramedics there fore the people, why not a vet for the animals?" he asked.

Rodeo organizers said the animal owners have the training to serve as paramedics for the animals until a veterinarian arrives. They compared having a vet on site to having a doctor on site. They also said there are so few large animal veterinarians in the area that it is impossible to have one on hand at all times.

Lenora Calzavara-Nolan, marketing director for Big Hat Rodeo, the group that puts on the rodeo at the Kane County Fair, said the change was a "livable ordinance for everyone."

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