Man tries to prod board into canceling rodeo
Wednesday, June 10, 1998
Daily Herald (Suburban Chicago)
By Eric Krol
Daily Herald Staff Writer
Discussion over whether the Kane County Board should try to ban the rodeo at next month's county fair turned into a bit of a circus Tuesday.
Steve Hindi, an animal rights activist who is pushing for the rodeo ban, turned an electric cattle prod on himself to try to bolster his case that rodeos are cruel to cattle.
The unorthodox display came after a pair of rodeo professionals defended their sport and questioned Hindi's credibility.
Meanwhile, county officials said they are unsure whether they even have the power to create a law that would force cancellation of the rodeo at the July 14-19 county fair.
The debate was a continuation of Hindi's request last month for an animal cruelty law. Such a law, Hindi contends, would put the rodeo out of business because cowboys would no way of riling up the animals to perform.
On Tuesday, Larry Kilduff, vice president of the California-based Friends of Rodeo Association, told county board members that the use of cattle prods is not cruel.
Kilduff pointed out that horses, cattle and even dogs are held in by electric wire fences.
Kilduff and Lenora Cazavara Nolan, part owner of Big Hat Rodeo, which puts on Kane's rodeo, also questioned Hindi's agenda.
"Their whole goal is to equate animals with people," Kilduff said.
Noland said studies by the rodeo industry show a minuscule o.11 percent injury rate among animals.
Hindi, a North Aurora resident who heads up the Chicago Animal Rights Coalition, said that cattle prods, do, in fact, hurt the animals.
Then Hindi, who was jailed in McHenry County last year for a hunt club protest, pressed the cattle prod device to his arm twice.
"This device hurts, folks," Hindi told the county board. "Rodeos are entertainment, not agribusiness."
After the meeting, Hindi described the cattle prod as feeling like a "very, very hard slap" on the arm.
Hindi even compared the use of cattle prods to the torture inflicted by Laurence Olivier's Nazi dentist in the 1976 movie "Marathon Man."
County Board Chairman Mike McCoy said he would bring the issue up at Thursday's executive committee meeting. McCoy said he expected the rodeo issue would be referred to either the public health or public safety committee.
"I get the feeling (these two sides) do battle all over the country," McCoy said.