Stampede stands by events

PABLO FERNANDEZ and FRANK LANDRY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

The Calgary Stampede has no plans to follow the example set by another prestigious Canadian rodeo and cancel its roping and wrestling events, officials said yesterday.

The Cloverdale Rodeo, in Surrey, B.C., the sixth-largest in Canada, announced it will scrap half of its events next year following the death of a calf over the weekend -- the second such incident in three years.

But the Calgary Stampede has proven and tested measures to keep their animals safe and has no plans to follow suit, said spokesman Doug Fraser.

"Animal safety is our number one priority so we don't anticipate eliminating these events," he said.

"Animals are the stars of the Stampede and we take great pride in our reputation for adhering to the highest standards of animal care.

Although two horses died during last year's Rangeland Derby, the last incident involving an injured calf was several years ago, said Fraser.

The animal was not euthanized and was simply taken out of the rotation, he said.

"Our rodeo is 112-years- old so, needless to say, there have been accidents over the years," said Fraser. "But we learn from those accidents ... to enhance our animal-safety measures."

The Cloverdale Rodeo has eliminated the calf roping, team roping, cowboy cow milking and steer wrestling events.

In Edmonton, Ken Knowles, general manager of Northlands -- which produces the annual Canadian Finals Rodeo -- said they work in close co-operation with the Edmonton Humane Society. "We are very concerned about not only the safety of the animals, but the safety of the contestants as well."

Jim Pippolo, general manager of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, said it's "unfortunate" the Vancouver group is targeting rodeos, but said it's a bigger issue on the coast.

"It's more of a hot-bed for activists than rural Alberta, or even Edmonton or Calgary," said Pippolo.


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