by Steve Hindi, founder, Showing Animals Respect & Kindness
Showing Animals Respect & Kindness, SHARK for short, conducted our first rodeo investigation conducted in Wauconda, Illinois, in 1993.
Our latest investigation concluded in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on July 31 of this year––less than two weeks ago.
In between we have exposed the cruelty of hundreds of rodeos across the US and in Canada and Mexico.
“The more rodeos we attend, the less cruelty occurs”
SHARK has driven out major sponsors such as Pace Picante, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and others. In numerous ways we’ve changed the world of rodeo animal abuse. There was a time when horses and bulls were routinely shocked. Today, a number of rodeos outright ban prods, but shocking still occurs. Dangerous and deadly jerk-down roping of young calves has been cut back due to our videos, but still can occur. The more rodeos we attend, the less cruelty occurs. Fewer rodeos attended equals more abuse.
SHARK has a rodeo specific website, RodeoCruelty.com, as well as specific rodeo websites, such as ShameOnCheyenne.com. For us, rodeo is no flash-in-the-pan issue. We don’t create fake campaigns to momentarily grab a spotlight on a national television show, as the Humane Society of the United States did back in the 1990s after SHARK conducted a real rodeo investigation for the television series Hard Copy.
“Feared by the fake cowboys of rodeo”
SHARK’s efforts, and results are real. SHARK is feared by the fake cowboys of rodeo to the point that I haven’t been able to engage a representative of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in debate since 1997, when I dismantled their favorite spokesperson, a rodeo veterinarian, on live Las Vegas television. The fake cowboys of rodeo fear us because our cameras expose them for the animal abusers they are.
There are many hundreds of rodeos across the US every year. Unfortunately, SHARK is a very small organization, so we obviously can’t be at anywhere near to all of them, especially considering our consistent efforts on the ground to eliminate live pigeon shoots and cockfighting, and efforts to help other organizations obtain vital documentation with other issues such as dog fighting, vivisection, factory farms, exotic animals, and many more.
We’ve been to the Omak Suicide Race
We’ve been to the Omak Suicide Race (see Did the Omak Suicide Race start with a horse massacre & the KKK?) on a number of occasions. We won’t be there this year because we don’t have either the money or personnel available. There are plenty of big groups who have more offices than we have people, and they have many, many times our resources. They won’t be in Omak either. Why not?
Most groups today, including and especially the big multi-million dollar groups, are not where they need to be to make change. They are instead focused on making money.
Making noise in our small community makes money, but it doesn’t make change. The general public –– the people filling those rodeo stands –– need to be educated about animal abuse. That’s who our videos are designed to reach –– people other than you –– and it’s working, but we need to expand drastically.
Letters count for very little, unless they are accompanied with hard evidence, and SHARK is the only organization obtaining that evidence with any consistency at all. PETA’s cowgirl strippers count for very little, other than to make the animal protection movement look foolish.
“If you want to stop animal abuse, take it on.”
If you want to stop animal abuse, take it on. Deal with it directly. Toward that end, Last Chance for Animals and the Humane Farming Association have helped to keep SHARK going after the phony cowboys of rodeo, not to mention cockfighting, pigeon shoots, and many other issues.
Please start supporting groups that support and conduct field work, with boots on the ground, instead of giving money to groups that mainly troll the bleeding hearts with endless donation pleas from comfortable offices.
The Humane Society of the U.S. has representatives around the country, so why aren’t their people in the rodeo stands when these spectacles of abuse show up annually? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] is always ready to make a comment to a reporter regarding rodeo, an issue they barely understand, but why don’t they have investigators in the stands collecting evidence, like SHARK does? Then they would actually know what they are talking about.
“Where are the big groups?”
Same thing goes with cockfighting. Where are the big groups? SHARK exposed and hammered cockfight pits throughout Kentucky in 2020 and 2021, not to mention Oklahoma, Ohio, Texas, New Mexico and California. Where are those HSUS people from all those local offices?
The American SPCA [ASPCA] is collecting hundreds of millions of dollars, as Merritt and Beth just exposed, and have exposed for decades. (See CBS News affirms ANIMALS 24-7 exposés of ASPCA fundraising.) I can tell you that in my 30+ years of chasing animals abusers across the country, I’ve never encountered a single ASPCA operative in any issue. Not once.
[Editor’s note: Come to think of it, ANIMALS 24-7 has never encountered an ASPCA operative doing a field investigation either, and cannot recall any issue in much longer than 30 years in which the ASPCA took the lead in pursuing an investigation, even when the subject to be investigated was going on just 10 minutes by taxi from the ASPCA head office in New York City. See Panhandlers & street corner animal exhibitors: who is who? Frustration with the lack of initiative evidenced by the ASPCA in response to cruel experiments on cats underway at the American Museum of Natural History, also 10 minutes away by taxi, is why the late Henry Spira took on the cause himself in 1975, winning cancellation of the experiments in 1976, in the campaign widely remembered as the beginning of the late 20th century animal rights movement.]
Check the photo credits
The animal protection movement largely supports groups and individuals who sucker people with compelling marketing. If you really care about animals, let me suggest that you prove it by looking beyond the compelling photos, and see what groups really do, or don’t do.
[Editor’s note: looking at the photo credits is a good place to start. If a photo comes from Getty Images, you can bet it did not come from an original investigation by the organization sending you an appeal.]
Right now, the vast majority of donors are just being played for rubes. Do you want to make yourself feel better, or do you want real change? Stop falling for the flash, and support substance. Support real action for animals.
The good news is that enormous change is possible. It will never be a perfect world, but it can be worlds better than it is now. The bad news is that this often silly, superficial, and often outright stupid movement is at present far removed from doing what is necessary to achieve our goals.