Animal rights activist tries to prod board into agreement

Thursday, June 11, 1998

The Republican (Geneva, IL)

By Don Mica

In a 'shocking' turn of events at Tuesday's Kane County Board meeting, animal rights activists Steve Hindi zapped himself twice with a cattle prod to demonstrate what a painful device it is.

"The rodeo cowboys weren't man enough to do it, so I did it," Hindi said. "So, I am the only witness, and I am saying it hurts. It hurts a lot."

The purpose of Hindi's actions was to show board members and the audience how cruelly animals are treated at rodeos.

Hindi, who is the president of the Chicago Animal Rights Coalition, is trying to convince the Kane County Board to adopt an ordinance banning spurs, cattle prods and bucking straps at this year's rodeo, which will be held next month at the Kane County Fair.

That rodeo is being put on by Big Hat Rodeo, which had a representative at Tuesday's meeting. There also was a representative from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association attending the meeting.

After Hindi shocked himself with the prod – not once but twice – in the forearm, he extended an invitation to the various rodeo representatives and to anyone else who was curious enough to try the device.

Everyone declined the offer.

Hindi brought in the prod, a small battery-powered device that he said us used to make bulls and horses perform at rodeos, because he read in various newspapers that rodeo cowboys said the device did not hurt.

Hindi said that in the past he has invited rodeo cowboys try to the device on themselves, but they declined. He even has offered members of the media an opportunity to try the prod so they can accurately describe the feeling of the device in their stories.

"If it hurts the animals, then I don't think (rodeo performers) should be doing it," Hindi said.

Kane County Board members will decide which committee, if any, should discuss this issue further.

Kane County Board member Robert McConnaughay, R-Geneva, said such issues usually are discussed first at the committee level.

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