On July 9, 2014, Canada’s beloved country singer Shania Twain, is scheduled to perform two sold out concerts at one of the country’s most despicable animal cruelty events, the Calgary Stampede. Twain’s performance at the Stampede will not only increase ticket sales, but will give her fans the illusion that this event is animal friendly, as she is a known vegetarian, and a lover of horses. A new petition is asking the singer to prioritize her love of animals and cancel the scheduled performances.
The Vancouver Humane Society states that the “Calgary Stampede, like all rodeos, is a cruel spectacle of animal abuse. Fear, pain and stress are used to coerce animals into performing for the entertainment of human beings – a barbaric concept.”
In 2013, prominent animal rights activist and TV game show legend Bob Barker, said “I would like very much to see them celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede by saying that is enough animal cruelty.” That same year, three horses were killed as a result of a crash during the chuckwagon races. One horse died during the race the previous year, and in 2010, six horses were killed. These are only a few of a long list of causalities,” since this event began more than a century ago.
“The Calgary Stampede has become a real Canadian icon,” said Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “It’s one of the things that’s known about this country – about Canada – the world over. It’s something that has preserved our values…the things upon which this city has been built.” The Prime Minister seems to believe that the Calgary Stampede represents Canada’s cultural roots.
In contrast to Prime Minister Harper, Peter Fricker, the projects and communications director for the Vancouver Humane Society, writes “[T]he Stampede has nothing “authentic” about it and has little to do with western heritage.” He explains that ”[t]he truth is that the Stampede has always been falsely promoted as western heritage – first by vaudevillian showmen, then by marketing executives, and now by the CBC. The Calgary Stampede as western heritage is not just a myth. It’s a lie.”
If both Canadian icons Shania Twain, and the Calgary Stampede, showed compassion towards animals then Canadians would really have something to take pride in, rather than celebrating the heartless exploitation of animals for human entertainment and profit.