Animal Groups Sue California Rodeo Salinas for Underreporting Animal InjuriesPosted on December 17, 2014
Animal Groups Document Severe Animal Suffering, Legal Violations at Salinas Rodeo
For immediate release:
Megan Backus, ALDF
Lisa Franzetta, ALDF
Steve Hindi, SHARK
Salinas, Calif. — Today, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit against the California Rodeo Salinas and its head veterinarian Tim Eastman for failing to report animal injuries to the state veterinary medical board, as required under California law. The defendants are accused of significantly underreporting the number of animals injured at the California Rodeo Salinas, the largest rodeo in the state and one of the largest in the country. In the last two years, the nonprofit SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness) has documented injuries to 41 animals—yet the rodeo has reported only four of those injuries. The lawsuit was filed in the Monterey County Superior Court on behalf of SHARK, who has had to spend its limited resources monitoring the rodeo and documenting unreported injuries to animals.
The California Rodeo Salinas holds an annual rodeo each summer in mid-July, drawing crowds of approximately 50,000 people. Events include steer wrestling, bull riding, calf roping, and team roping, all of which pose serious risks of injury to animals. For the last two years, SHARK has attended the California Rodeo Salinas and videotaped more than forty injuries to animals, including calves limping in pain after being dragged to the ground, and a horse with a tennis ball-sized wound on his neck. Expert veterinary assessment of this footage confirms that these injuries required immediate veterinary care, and should have been reported. But to mask the inherent dangerousness of rodeo events, California Rodeo Salinas has drastically and chronically underreported animal injuries.
“California law requires the reporting of rodeo animal injuries,” says Steve Hindi, founder and president of SHARK. “The intent was to make rodeos transparent. Instead, the law has not been enforced, but rather, manipulated to make rodeos appear harmless.”
“California law recognizes that rodeos endanger the animals who are forced to participate, which is why the law requires veterinarians to report animal injuries,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Without transparency, groups such as ALDF and SHARK cannot hold rodeos accountable for the suffering they cause. This lawsuit is intended to change that.”
Copies of the complaint and video footage are available by request.