Going to a Rodeo? Ixnay on the Video

Yes, that includes your cell phone. CFD has banned video cameras at all rodeos, including slack. Animal rights group SHARK says the ban is an attempt to conceal animal abuse.


Friday, May 29, 2009

CHEYENNE -- Video cameras have been banned from the 2009 Cheyenne Frontier Days regular and slack rodeo events.

Phones with recording features also won’t be allowed.

And the president of an animal rights group says the policy change is an attempt to block more Internet video clips of animal abuse at Frontier Park.

“(CFD officials) have no intention of stopping abuse,” said Steve Hindi, president of SHARK, SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness. “They want it to go undocumented.”

He added that while he has nothing against rodeo traditions, events such as steer busting and wild horse races don’t represent the traditions of life on the range.

Cowboys often rope steers to catch animals that need medical attention. But the violent jerks that wrench an animal’s neck and slam its body to the ground -- as occurs in rodeos -- are “a perversion of ranch work,” Hindi said.

He added that ranchers avoid similar tugs and pulls that could injure or kill a valuable steer.

Hindi said that the wild horse race terrorizes animals as contestants try to saddle and ride an unbroken horse.

CFD General Chairman Charlie West said the updated camera-use policy reflects today’s video environment. Still photography cameras are allowed.

He added that this policy is similar to the ones in place at venues across the nation and the one used by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

According to the CFD Web site, celebration organizers also do not “tolerate, condone or permit actions that abuse animals.”

At the same time, it adds, animals and humans may be hurt during rodeo events. Injured animals get immediate veterinary attention, are isolated from further harm and are not used again.

Cindy Schonholtz of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association said that organization owns the rights to all commercial video footage from PRCA rodeo events.

But local organizers are the ones who decide whether to ban the amateur clips that rodeo fans shoot, she said. She added that rodeo committees are encouraged to develop their own policies and that PRCA wasn’t notified of any changes for CFD.

Hindi said similar attempts to ban video cameras were unsuccessful at California events such as the Red Bluff Round Up and Redding Rodeo.

It’s also a difficult policy to enforce when many portable devices can record video clips, including phones and digital cameras.

“The negative response from rodeo supporters was enormous,” he added.

Hindi said CFD organizers made the right decision to ban electric prods two years ago. It’s a shame that they didn’t decide to continue on that path this year, he added.

By Michelle Dynes

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