A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Will and Kate Roped into Rodeo

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as the U.K.’s royal newlyweds are now known, have decided to attend the Calgary Stampede, a rodeo event that most humane groups call inhumane and dangerous.

The Vancouver Humane Society was one of the organizations that wrote to St James’s Palace asking the couple to cancel the visit to the Stampede, describing rodeo as “a brutal spectacle of cruelty that subjects animals to unnecessary pain, stress and fear.”

Eighty animals have died in the Stampede in the last 24 years. Last year, six horses were killed in the Stampede.

This year, as part of an effort to clean up the cruelty, horses competing in the chuck wagon races will be microchipped, so veterinarians can keep track of their medical and race histories in an attempt to ensure that weaker horses don’t take part.

For their part, the royals have ducked out of taking any responsibility for the fact that they’ll be putting their stamp of approval on this spectacle.

“Ultimately, the itinerary is a matter for the Albertan Government,” a royal spokesperson said. “However, there is no doubting that the Stampede is an iconic and hugely popular festival, which celebrates so much of what is special about Alberta.”

Our View: It’s technically true that the royal schedule is in the hands of the local government. But if putting the protection of animals were the slightest bit more important to the royals than pleasing a provincial tourist lobby, there’s no doubt they could make their views known and not just behave like puppets.

More at the Vancouver Sun.

More background here and here.