By Rob Sherman
Chicago Now Blog
June 1, 2009

Rodeos are animal abuse for entertainment. The animals are cruelly electrically shocked to perform, body slammed for sport, have their tales mercilessly twisted, and suffer massive, traumatic injuries that often are so severe, the animals have to be put to death.

One man, Steve Hindi, is trying to do something about it.

Hindi travels across the country, mostly at his own expense, to document, through video, how rodeo personnel deliberately, and often illegally, abuse animals for the financial profit of those associated with rodeo and for the perverse entertainment of very naive audiences.Steve Hindi is the founder of SHARK, which stands for Showing Animals Respect and Kindness. Hindi is Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Jesse Jackson and Rob Sherman, all wrapped up in one, for rodeo animals.

Rodeos are required, by law, to take certain measures to somewhat protect animals from the worst of the abuse, but rodeo personnel find those laws to be very inconvenient. They ignore the laws and do their best to conceal the ways in which they defy the law.

For years, Hindi has been videotaping the illegal abuse and turning over his tapes to government investigators and regulators, who have generally disregarded the evidence. Money is so much more important than the welfare of animals.

I think that the animals would be a lot happier if the rodeo operators would ban the abuse, rather than banning Hindi from documenting the abuse.Rodeo operators have responded to Hindi's tactics by banning video recording of rodeos in most places.

If you'd like to keep up with Hindi's latest efforts to end the horrific treatment of animals at rodeos, visit the SHARK website.


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