PETA Urges PRCA to Ban Flank Straps in Wake of Animal Death at Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo

Today, PETA sent an urgent letter to Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association (PRCA) Chair Keith Martin urging him to ban the use of painful flank straps after a bucking horse crashed into the standing barriers and another horse violently died during a bronco event at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.

“There is absolutely no excuse for forcing animals to buck to the point that they injure or kill themselves,” says PETA Director Debbie Leahy. “The sole purpose of a flank strap is to inflict pain so that animals will flail wildly to get it off. The time has come to do away with these cruel devices.”

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PETA’s letter to the PRCA follows.

July 24, 2009

Keith Martin, Chair
Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association, Inc.

Dear Mr. Martin:

PETA wrote to the Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association (PRCA) several years ago with concerns about the use of flank straps to provoke and agitate animals into jumping and kicking during rodeo events. This Sunday at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo (CFD) in Wyoming, hundreds of spectators witnessed a bucking horse crash into standing barriers as well as the violent death of a horse named Strawberry Fudge during a bronco event. On behalf of our 2 million members and supporters, we are writing to renew our request for the PRCA to prohibit the use of flank straps.

After these straps are tightened around animals’ abdomens, the animals twist and contort their bodies in a desperate effort to relieve their discomfort. Rodeo spectators at Sunday’s CFD event have reported to PETA that they saw Strawberry Fudge cower in the back of her chute when the gates opened. Soon after, witnesses report that “several men inside the rails did something to force [her] out.” She then went airborne and landed hard on the ground on her back, her head, and rider Bill Olive’s leg. A short time later, another horse in the saddle bronc event was bucking so hard that he crashed into nearby iron railings, fell over the railings, and struggled to get up.

While the PRCA does not keep official records on animal casualties at PRCA-sanctioned events, there have been many reports of animals who were injured and died because of the frenzied bucking often caused by flank straps. Please consider the following:

*  Last June at the College Finals Rodeo in Wyoming, a horse injured her spine after falling while bucking and was euthanized.
*  This January at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Center in Australia, a horse slammed into the gate of the arena and died from his injuries
*  In August of last year, a horse broke her leg and was euthanized during the saddle bronc event at the Omak Stampede in Washington.
*  In 2006, a horse who broke her leg and a bull who broke his back were euthanized at the Ulverston Rodeo in Australia because of injuries caused by bucking

Many stock contractors attest to the natural bucking behavior of certain horses and bulls, so the elimination of flank straps will not prevent PRCA-sanctioned events from proceeding. By prohibiting these irritating devices to help prevent animals from “bucking blind” and suffering painful injuries or death, the PRCA can emphasize its commitment to animal welfare. Will you please take this step to prevent the needless risk of further animals suffering serious injuries? I look forward to your response.


Desiree Acholla
Animals in Entertainment Specialist

Desiree Acholla 757-622-7382

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