Practical Issues > Animals for Entertainment > Rodeo Index

SHARK vs. the Rodeo

Dear Fellow Animal Advocate:

I am writing to you on behalf of Steve Hindi. My name is Pat Vinet, and I am managing SHARK's new, soon-to-be-announced campaign against Campbell Soup for its support of rodeos. Campbell owns numerous food companies and brands including Pace Foods (Pace Salsa), which is a major rodeo sponsor.
We are currently working on a Campbell's website and to publicize exactly what Campbell Soup is doing to promote animal abuse. Within a few weeks we will send the Tiger video truck to Campbell's headquarters in New Jersey to officially launch the campaign on the streets.
We are not asking for assistance, although partnerships in this worldwide effort would be welcomed. At this point we simply want you to know that this very important project is underway, and to ask for your public stand against rodeos. We are compiling a list of humane organizations opposing rodeo cruelty, and this list will be used on the Campbell site, and others to follow. The statement simply reads: "The following humane organizations are opposed to the cruelty and abuse of animals in rodeos." That's it.
Last month three SHARK investigators attended the National Steer Roping Finals in Amarillo, Texas.' This was the last stop of an intensive five-month investigation that yielded almost more documentation of abuse than we knew what to do with. While all kinds of rodeo animal abuse was filmed, our focus was on steer roping.
While steer roping is the official, more politically correct term, its fans call it steer tripping and steer busting and for good reason. It is an event sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). The PRCA is the world's largest rodeo association. You won't see steer busting at many regular PRCA rodeos. Steer busting only occurs in a handful of western states in the United States. Steer busting is so grotesquely inhumane, so inexcusably brutal, the PRCA keeps it flying about as far below the radar as it possibly can. These events often are held on private property at odd times. Typically steer busting is not only unadvertised, it's "by invitation only."

What we witnessed and documented in Amarillo was beyond horrible. Two Clydesdale horses attached to a makeshift sled were stationed just outside arena floor for the purpose of hauling off the critically injured animals that are the inevitable byproducts of this event. The third steer released from the chute was the first casualty of the evening. The Clydesdales were driven to the downed steer. His broken body was rolled over and dragged unto the plywood sled. He was then dragged out and dumped into a pen lined with black plastic right outside of the arena. At one point during the first night's competition, the steers were being crippled so fast, the Clydesdales couldn't even keep up.

Over the course of the weekend, nine animals were hauled out and dumped. Another staggered out, bleeding from the nose and mouth. He apparently didn't move fast enough to suit the goons who were to perform this task, so they twisted his tail to get him into the "discard heap" faster. It was the most heart-wrenching thing I've ever seen. You can view the "highlights" of this unspeakable cruelty at

We feel that the time is right to start attacking rodeo at its financial source: its corporate sponsors. We are going to do it by focusing on rodeo's Achilles Heel: steer tripping. Even the largest corporate sponsors will not be able to withstand the public relations nightmare that will result from being associated with this carnage.
The rodeo Mafia can make their lame excuses about how the hot prods don't really have any batteries in them and the horses used in the bucking events are the products of their "Born To Buck" programs, etc. Steer tripping, however, is the PRCA's dirty little secret. It's both hideous and completely indefensible.

Once our Campbell campaign is underway, we will begin efforts against other corporate sponsors, including automaker DaimlerChrysler, maker of among other brands, Dodge and Mercedes-Benz.' Please feel free to call or write me with any questions about these upcoming efforts.

Pat Vinet

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