Animal rights activist attacks Kane County Fair rodeo practice

Hindi: Electric cattle prods, bucking straps, spurs abusive to animals

Wednesday, May 13, 1998

Kane County Chronicle (IL)


GENEVA – A spokesman for a Chicago-area animal rights group wants the Kane County Board to ban certain practices employed by rodeo participants during the county fair.

Speaking before the County Board Tuesday, Steve Hindi, of the Chicago Animal Rights Coalition, said the use of electric prods, bucking straps, spurs and other practices are abusive to the animals.

"They have no place in a God-fearing society," Hindi said. "These animals feel pain."

Hindi said his group has documented practices on videotape of Big Hat Rodeo, which ahs performed at the Kane County Fair and is scheduled to perform again at this year's fair July.

Hindi said that the video was used as part of the "Hard Copy" television program.

Sheila Lehrke, a spokesman for the International Professional Rodeo Association on animal issues, said the practices cited by Hindi are not abusive. Lehrke said Hindi sent the IPRA a copy of the video and that it does not show evidence of animal abuse.

County Board Chairman Mike McCoy requested that Hindi provide him with a copy of the video, and also a copy of an ordinance passed by the Pittsburgh, Penn., City Council that outlaws some of the practices used at rodeos, such as the electric cattle prod.

Lehrke said electronic cattle prods are used to maneuver the animals and also immediately prior to the chute opening.

However, she said the devices were developed by a veterinarian, and literature proved by Lehrke state the electronic stun guns used by law enforcement officials to subdue people generate 65 times more voltage than the cattle prods.

"People briefly touching the animal as he leaves the chute in no way hurts the animal," Lehrke said.

Hindi, who recently spent 55 days in the McHenry County jail for an alleged contempt of court violation relating to another animal rights protest, said the video documents animal abuse in the form of dirt being thrown into bulls' eyes, animals' tails being twisted and bent over fence rails and rider raking their spurs into the flanks of the horses.

He said Pittsburgh ordinances do not outlaw rodeos, just certain practices that are routinely employed at rodeos.

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