Guest post by chinadialogue intern Li Cheng
Rodeo China recently announced on their official website that the original October 2011 date for the rodeo will be pushed back due to a problem concerning quarantine duration for imported livestock. This event is to be boycotted by 71 Chinese animal protection organisations.
At a September 18 press conference to protest against Rodeo China, the president of the Capital Animal Welfare Association, Qin Xiaona, said animal welfare groups’ opposition to Rodeo China’s event had gathered a broad base of public support, and that they will continue to work together to fight for progress.
However, a spokesperson for the sponsor of the American event, Guo Tiefu, told Southern Metropolis Daily that the event was delayed solely due to legal issues involved with the length of time imported livestock must be quarantined, and had nothing to do with the protests of animal welfare groups.
Rodeo China, an exhibition rodeo event showcasing sports of the American West, was originally meant to take place in October 2011 at the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing. Events were to include bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing and other traditional cowboy events. In some of these events animals can be harmed a great deal; in training and performance they are often shocked with prods and abused in other ways.
Many countries have made rodeo events illegal, believing these practices to be brutal and bloody. At the press conference, Steve Hindi, the head of American animal welfare group Animal Cruelty Investigations and Campaigns (SHARK), said: “Rodeos do not represent true cowboy culture.” In a related paper, veterinary medicine professor and respected animal welfare law consultant Peggy W Larson opined that “rodeo events are fundamentally inhumane.”
Chinese animal protection groups and notable figures from all walks of life released a paper saying that rodeo events cause great harm and suffering to animals, and that its cruel and bloody nature goes against the essential principles of animal welfare. They added that it is entirely inappropriate for it to be broadcast to promote Chinese-American cultural exchange.
The concern now among animal-protection organisations is that this delay is only a temporary victory. Green Beagle research fellow Liu Huili noted: “A ‘delay’ seems like a polite excuse for China to refuse to allow the United States to hold the rodeo event, but looking at the American website it seems likely that the rodeo still might be opened in spring next year.”
In recent years, a series of foreign animal-oriented industries have landed on Chinese soil. Not lacking among them are those which involve animal cruelty and abuse. Professor at the Central Institute of Socialism Mang Ping said in a blog post: “China currently lacks comprehensive and effective animal protection legislation, but there’s no reason to bring such cruel sports into the country.”
Translated by chinadialogue volunteer Chelsea Bowling