Activist wants Kane to ban cattle prods before county fair
Wednesday, May 13, 1998
Daily Herald (Chicago Suburbs)
By Eric Krol
Daily Herald Staff Writer
A controversial animal rights activist asked the Kane County Board on Tuesday to consider banning what he said were cruel practices to rodeo animals in advance of this summer's county fair.
Steve Hindi, a leader of the Chicago Animal Rights Coalition who has gone to jail for his cause, claimed that rodeo organizers routinely use electric cattle prods and physical punishment to get otherwise domesticated bulls and horses riled up.
A county law banning such tactics, Hindi contends, would effectively put the rodeo out of business at the county fair, which runs from July 14 through 19.
"It's impossible to hold a rodeo with these restrictions," said Hindi, a North Aurora resident. "It's not something that should be condoned in a civilized society."
Chris Unger, county fair executive manager, said he has no problem with the concept of not allowing cattle prods at the rodeo.
But Unger said he disagrees with Hindi's assertion that barring cattle prods would prohibit a rodeo from taking place.
"We've never had any complaints about our rodeo," he said. "I can't say they don't (use cattle prods). Unless you're out there watching it yourself, you don't know. But we have (fair) board members watching the rodeo, and they've never said anything about it."
Hindi also held out the possibility of protests at the county fair rodeo, similar to the picketing his group has done in the past at the annual Wauconda rodeo.
Hindi recently spent 55 days in the McHenry County jail for defying a judge's order to stop using a bullhorn to scare away geese and animals at the Woodstock Hunt Club.
Kane County Board Chairman Mike McCoy asked Hindi to give him a copy of a anti-rodeo cruelty law enacted in Pittsburgh. Hindi also promised to give each county board member a videotape that he said shows rodeo animal cruelty in downstate Boone County.
Officials at the Lebanon, Mo., based Big Hat Rodeo, which produces the rodeo during the county fair each year, could not be reached for comment.