The California State Legislative Counsel Bureau on February 6, 2014 issued a legal opinion on “steer tailing,” a standard event in charreada, or Mexican-style rodeo.
The legal opinion concludes:
“To summarize, the practice of steer tailing is not prohibited per se by the animal cruelty laws (of California.) It is our opinion, however, that…a court, depending on the facts and evidence presented in a particular case, could conclude that the practice violates one or more of the animal cruelty laws.”
In short, any animal control agency or humane officer has cause to cite anyone caught practicing this cruelty. Please alert your local animal control and humane agencies.
After 20 years working on charreada issues, I remain convinced that “steer tailing” is even more brutal than “horse tripping,” and should be banned outright. The steer’s tail may be stripped to the bone (degloved), even torn off. And horses sometimes suffer broken legs when the steers run the wrong way.
Steer tailing is not a standard ranching practice anywhere in the U.S., nor is it sanctioned by any American-style rodeo association (though American-style rodeo includes many other abusive events.)
Two California counties, Alameda and Contra Costa, banned steer tailing in 1993. It’s time for everywhere else to do likewise.
––Eric Mills, coordinator
Action for Animals
P.O. Box 20184, Oakland, CA 94620