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San Diego Padres: [email protected]; San Diego City Council: Mayor Todd Gloria: [email protected]; City Attorney Mara W. Elliott: [email protected]; Council District 1 - Joe LaCava: [email protected]; Council District 2 - Jennifer Campbell: [email protected]; Council District 3 - Stephen Whitburn: [email protected]; Council District 4 - Monica Montgomery Steppe: [email protected]; Council District 5 - Marni von Wilpert: [email protected]; Council District 6 - Kent Lee: [email protected]; Council District 7 - Raul Campillo: [email protected]; Council District 8 - Vivian Moreno: [email protected]; Council District 9 - Sean Elo-Rivera :[email protected]// San Diego County Commissioners: [email protected]

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PETITION TARGETS: San Diego City Council, San Diego County Commissioners

A 6-year-old horse was tragically injured at Petco Park’s inaugural rodeo in San Diego, which sadly took place despite community outrage and protest, according to NBC news

The young horse is reportedly recovering from the injury, but his suffering was preventable. Lady Freethinker was among those who publicly opposed the rodeo and brought attention to the cruelty and inherent risk of injury animals face in rodeos.

Now, San Diego City Councilmember Kent Lee is proposing a ban on rodeos, arguing that the senseless animal suffering common in Rodeos does not align with San Diego’s values, according to KPBS news

“Entertainment is not a justification for cruelty toward animals,” Councilmember Kent Lee said. “The city of San Diego has a history of caring for animals, including investing in our shelters, community vet clinics and providing grants to local animal rescue nonprofits. This ordinance will ensure that no more animals will needlessly suffer under the guise of entertainment in San Diego.”

This sentiment echoes Lady Freethinker’s public comment at San Diego City Council ahead of the proposed event and our delivery of petition signatures.

When the rodeo was announced in September, it was advertised as “the world’s top cowboys competing for over half a million dollars in prize money.”

Horses, baby cows, and bulls used in rodeos often suffer horrific injuries, including broken ribs, punctured lungs, snapped necks, and internal organ damage, as well as devastatingly painful deaths.

The otherwise gentle animals often have to be harassed to act out in the unnatural “bucking” and high-speed behaviors prized in rodeo arenas — including by being jolted with painful electric prods, stabbed with spurs, or irritated by uncomfortably tightened straps around their bodies, according to the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.

Other layers of cruelty inherent to rodeos include transporting animals long distances while withholding food and water for up to 24 hours at a time, training for grisly events like calf roping by “practicing” on baby cows until in some cases the infants die or become seriously injured, and sending any distressed and injured animals from the rodeo to slaughterhouses.

There’s also the issue of family separation, with one of the companies associated with the rodeo noting that foals as young as 6 months old are taken from their mothers, burned with a brand, and then relegated to a pasture where they can “grow up to be outstanding bucking horses.”

Petco Park’s illustrious 20-year history never involved a rodeo before 2024 — now we are campaigning to ensure the brutal rodeo never returns to San Diego.

Lady Freethinker supports a ban on rodeos. Sanctioned animal cruelty should never be tolerated — let alone presented as “entertainment” — and violence committed on defenseless and otherwise gentle animals should never “earn” cash prizes.

Other cities have already passed laws to keep cruel rodeos out of their communities — including Pasadena, Fort Wayne (IN), Pittsburgh (PA), Leestown (VA) — and the entire state of Rhode Island.

Sign our petition urging San Diego City Council to pass an ordinance banning rodeos so that this cruelty never comes to San Diego again.