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Canadians Weigh in on Royal Rodeo Visit

Vancouver Humane Society asks Will and Kate to skip Calgary Stampede

The Vancouver Humane Society has joined a growing chorus of animal protection groups on both sides of the Atlantic that are asking the future King and Queen of Britain to stay away from the Calgary Stampede.

In a letter to newlyweds Will and Kate, VHS executive director Debra Probert calls the rodeo “a brutal spectacle of cruelty that subjects animals to unnecessary pain, stress and fear” and a false representation of Canadian culture.

“We are sure your Royal Highnesses do not want to be associated with an activity that is illegal in Britain, is opposed by virtually all animal welfare organizations and that causes animals to suffer needlessly,” Probert wrote.

Other voices are fighting back. Stampede spokesman Doug Fraser said organizers will not be swayed by the letter and that there are no plans to drop calf-roping, which is one of the most dangerous and controversial parts of the event.

“What the letter basically says is that, in essence, they don’t want to see animals subjected to fear and pain and often death, and you know what? We absolutely agree. The safety of the animals should never be compromised,” Fraser said.

But CTV television notes that 80 animals have died in the Stampede since 1986.

More: The Toronto Sun has a report. And a Toronto Sun columnist sneers that the Vancouver Humane Society is a “busybody group” that’s going to be complaining next about “cruelty to pancakes.”

And a Zoe commentary by Michael Mountain is here.

What do you say? Should the royal newlyweds skip the rodeo in Calgary? Let us know in a comment or on Facebook.

What you can do: One organization working to bring an end to rodeos is SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness). Be aware that the website has stark footage of animal abuse at rodeos and other events.