PETITION TARGETS: San Diego Padres, Petco Park, San Diego City Council, San Diego County Commissioners
UPDATE (12/07/2023): We have sent our petition, signed by more than 31,000 people, to the Mayor’s office and also to the San Diego Padres. Unfortunately, it does not appear that either the mayor — who has not responded to date — nor the Padres are aware of the serious cruelties inherent in rodeo. “We have been ensured by the group that is hosting the event that the safety, security and well-being of the contestants and livestock of the San Diego Rodeo are of the utmost importance,” a guest experience coordinator for the Padres told LFT by email. “Animal welfare is a major ongoing initiative of the professional sport of rodeo and the San Diego Rodeo, and the event hosts pledge to continue the strict enforcement of these rules and regulations.” Meanwhile, the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee is publicly calling on the Padres and the City to cancel this cruel enterprise, according to CBS 8. In November, news reported that two animal rights groups filed a lawsuit against the Padres and the rodeo company and are seeking a restraining order to stop ticket sales. A hearing will be held on December 14. We will continue to watch the progress of this case and report on developments. We will also continue to publicly oppose this rodeo and will continue our efforts to educate people that rodeos and animal welfare NEVER go together. — Lady Freethinker Staff
It’s come to our attention that San Diego’s Petco Park is aiming to hold an inaugural rodeo in January 2024 — which could bring with it terrible cruelty to animals.
The San Diego Padres, in collaboration with two other companies, announced in September that Petco Park will host its first-ever rodeo from Jan. 12 to Jan. 14, 2024 — billing the potential monstrosity as “the world’s top cowboys competing for over half a million dollars in prize money.”
There are no details at this time about what animal events will be on display, although one of the companies’ websites mentions “bucking horses” and “bucking bulls.”
But what is known is that 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 planned 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 has never involved a rodeo — and it definitely does not need one now.
We must let the Padres know that sanctioned animal cruelty should never be tolerated — let alone presented as “entertainment” — and that violence committed on defenseless and otherwise gentle animals should never “earn” cash prizes.
Sign our petition urging the Padres and Petco Park to halt any plans to hold animal rodeo events at their venue. We’re also asking San Diego legislators to pass ordinances banning cruel rodeos from coming to town, as other cities — including Pasadena, Fort Wayne (IN), Pittsburgh (PA), Leestown (VA) — and the entire state of Rhode Island have done.