Will anyone proclaim “I am Red Alert!”?
KNOXVILLE, LOS ANGELES––One might imagine that even the Professional Bull Riders, hostile as as they are to the humane values of mainstream society, might shy away from thematic alignment with the disgraced Austrian-Irish Nobel Prize-winning physicist turned pederast Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961).
On the other hand, at least three pederasts appear on the Showing Animals Respect & Kindness web site Cowboy Criminals, along with Professional Bull Riders founder Ty Murray, fined $1,233 in 1995 for allegedly chasing an elk with a snowmobile.
Are the reports of Red Alert’s death exaggerated?
Be that as it may, Professional Bull Riders spokespersons David Gershwin and Andrew Giangola may have unwittingly echoed the long deceased Schrödinger on February 22, 2022 in postulating that a bull named Red Alert might simultaneously be both dead, as Showing Animals Respect & Kindness [SHARK] believes, and alive, as Gershwin and Giangola insist.
Either that, or Red Alert channeled Mark Twain’s May 1897 remark that, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
The Professional Bull Riders thought experiment began with a February 19, 2022 bull-riding competition at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee.
“Leg broke right out of the gate”
Soon afterward, emailed Showing Animals Respect & Kindness to supporters, “SHARK received video of a bull injured at the Professional Bull Riders’ event in Knoxville. Since SHARK can’t be everywhere and there weren’t any animal activists in the crowd documenting the cruelty of the event,” Showing Animals Respect & Kindness said, “we are lucky a spectator caught some of it with a cell phone.”
Said the spectator, “The leg on the bull broke right out of the gate, and the rider rode him broken all the way to eight seconds. My video is of the second half of its hell, where they are trying to get him off the floor.”
The video showed the bull limping on three legs, his right foreleg dangling as a mounted cowboy dragged him out of the arena with a rope. The spectator who made the video and other observers believed the leg was broken.
Red Alert refused to fall
Rodeo personnel spread out a litter for the bull, but the bull lurched past it, refusing to fall, managing to leave the arena under his own power.
Posted immediately to YouTube and sent to Showing Animals Respect & Kindness, the video soon attracted the notice of a Los Angeles city council member.
Los Angeles, as it happens, held the next Professional Bull Riders Tour event on the 2022 schedule, the PBR Pluto IV Invitational, on February 22.
The Los Angeles city council is also imminently expected to pass an ordinance banning rodeo use of electric prods and other shocking devices, flank or bucking straps, wire tiedowns, sharpened or fixed spurs, and rowel spurs. The rodeo industry contends this would amount to a rodeo ban.
“Alive & well this morning”
The Los Angeles city council member contacted Los Angeles-based Professional Bull Riders publicist David Gershwin.
Responded Gershwin on February 21, 2022, “I will send you a statement from the Professional Bull Riders and a photo of the bull, Red Alert, alive and well this morning. Hopefully I’ll have that ready for you later today. But before that, here are the facts:
“The vet onsite diagnosed the bull, whose name is Red Alert, with a separated shoulder, NOT a broken leg.
“SHARK said the bull would be dead by morning. That is 100% false.
“The bull will be given a treatment plan and then it would either return to competition or it will be retired to stud service. In both instances he would live a long life.
“The alternative if SHARK had their way?” Gershwin alleged. “A year ago, the bull would be in the food system and also be used for shoes, belts, and clothing.”
How about no bull-riding, no rodeo, & no beef?
The actual alternative, if Showing Animal Respect & Kindness policies adopted more than 30 years ago had been in effect nationwide, would be that the bull Red Alert and many generations of forebears would never have been born, since there would be no bull-riding, no rodeo, and no beef industry either, for that matter.
The Professional Bull Riders, if Red Alert was in truth “alive and well this morning,” could have posted their own video documenting that claim, perhaps showing Red Alert alongside a news report of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Professional Bull Riders’ claim did appear to be supported by a still photo that Gershwin distributed later, showing a bull wearing Red Alert’s ear tag with a badly swollen right foreleg. But nothing actually dated the photo or gave a hint where Red Alert might be observed.
Instead, the Professional Bull Riders prevailed upon YouTube to take down the video where the initial observer had posted it, claiming the posting was a copyright violation.
“I doubt that very much”
The Gershwin email to the Los Angeles city council member was forwarded to Showing Animals Respect & Kindness founder Steve Hindi.
Hindi, frequently not far from Knoxville area in connection with investigating illegal cockfights in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio, then began a pursuit of Gershwin, and of Red Alert, somewhat resembling film maker Michael Moore’s futile pursuit of General Motors chair Roger B. Smith in Moore’s 1989 documentary hit Roger & Me.
On February 23, 2022, Hindi finally emailed to Gershwin, “I called you a couple days ago, and asked to see the bull who was injured in Knoxville. You claim that the bull is alive and will recover. I doubt that very much, having seen too many other instances of injured rodeo animals who were going to receive the best care and live long lives, only to find out that they were killed.
“Rodeo cannot be copyrighted”
“On a related issue,” Hindi added, “I see that the Professional Bull Riders has claimed a copyright violation on the person who posted her private video of the injured bull. I expect you already know that a rodeo, including the Knoxville incident, cannot be copyrighted when filmed privately.”
Indeed, the Electronic Frontiers Foundation on February 12, 2009 announced that the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association had agreed to pay $25,000 and drop claims of copyright violation made against Showing Animals Respect & Kindness.
Asserting that Showing Animals Respect & Kindness had violated the federal Digital Millennium Act, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in December 2007 pressured YouTube into removing from the web several videos of rodeo violence posted by SHARK.
The Electronic Frontiers Foundation then sued the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association on behalf of Showing Animals Respect & Kindness.
“I damned well dare you to pull that garbage with us”
Explained Hindi at the time, “The money goes to the Electronic Frontiers Foundation,” to cover legal costs. The exciting part for us is that the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association has agreed not to enforce a ‘no videotaping’ provision in its ticket contracts against us, unless it enforces the same provision against others. This means the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association may no longer selectively enforce the provision against critics.”
Continued Hindi to Gershwin, “The Professional Bull Riders are surely aware of this lawsuit, and how it turned out. Hopefully a federal judge will take a very dim view of the Professional Bull Riders bullying someone for something that is completely legal, with a past lawsuit establishing that fact.
“SHARK is going to post [the observer’s] video for her, and I damned well dare you to pull that garbage with us.”
“Bull injuries are exceedingly rare”
Hindi’s email apparently crossed with an update from Professional Bull Riders vice president of strategic communication Andrew Giangola.
According to Giangola, “Red Alert was diagnosed by the veterinarian at the Professional Bull Riders event in Knoxville, Tennessee to have a dislocated shoulder. He was given treatment on site before being hauled to his home ranch last night and is doing well today. This photo shows him this morning before seeing his hometown vet for another diagnosis and treatment.
“Bull injuries in Professional Bull Riders [events] are exceedingly rare,” Giangola claimed. “They occur in .0002% of the times a bull leaves the bucking chute.”
Giangola did not cite a source for that statistic.
“The best care an animal could hope for”
Continued Giangola, “Red Alert is getting the best care an animal could hope for. We are hopeful that the diagnosis from the vet provides for a treatment plan that will get him back into the arena. If the injury doesn’t allow for a return to competition but is not debilitating, then Red Alert will be retired to stud service.”
Since a bull with a bum leg, even a front leg, would have difficulty mounting a cow, “stud service” might be presumed to mean “electro-ejaculation.”
Hindi remained skeptical.
“I remember about 15 years ago, when a bull with a broken leg was filmed at a PRCA rodeo, and we got a copy,” Hindi posted. “We said the bull would die. The PRCA claimed otherwise. It claimed that the leg was set, would heal, and everything would be fine.
“The problem with the plan,” Hindi continued, “is that the bull was owned by Roy Honeycutt, a stock contractor,” now deceased, whom Hindi knew personally.
Hindi and Honeycutt clashed about rodeo, but “He sure as hell respected us,” Hindi remembered, “and knew better than to screw with us.
“So when I called Roy and told him I wanted to come and see his ‘healing’ bull, he spilled the beans immediately. The ‘healing’ claim came from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and he wasn’t happy at all with the scheme, especially since the bull had by this time been put down. I suspect that the same thing will happen here.
“In the unlikely event that Red Alert is still alive,” Hindi said, “we challenge the Professional Bull Riders to release a comprehensive list of all animal injuries and deaths [at their events] for the last five years. Since they argue that the list is so short, it should be a very easy task.
“Then we can ask them about the tests for steroids that they abandoned some years back when the results were, shall we say, not what they wanted.”
The Red Alert episode evokes recollection of Erwin Schrödinger because, as Wikipedia explains, “In quantum mechanics, Schrödinger’s cat is a thought experiment,” postulated by Schrödinger in 1935, “that illustrates a paradox of quantum superposition. In the thought experiment, a hypothetical cat may be considered simultaneously both alive and dead as a result of her fate being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur.”
Meanwhile, as Red Alert limped out of Thompson-Boling Arena, the rodeo announcer described him as an animal athlete.
But an athlete competes of his or her own free will. And as Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn explained to USA Today in 1990, 25 years after his playing career ended, “If I goof up, there’s going to be a relief pitcher coming in there. Nobody’s going to shoot me.”
Red Alert was a gladiator
Red Alert was, or is, a gladiator, a slave who fights to the death in order to live until the next fight.
If Red Alert could speak, he might stand up to announce his survival like actor Kirk Douglas in the 1960 film Spartacus, based on the life of the Thracian gladiator Spartacus (111–71 BCE), who led a slave uprising against the Roman Republic.
Captured by the Roman general Marcus Licinius Crassus, the last 70 survivors of the rebel army were ordered to identify Spartacus, who was to be crucified.
“I am Spartacus!” Kirk Douglas as Spartacus declared.
“No, I am Spartacus!” each of the other rebels responded, so Crassus crucified them all.
Such is the fate of all rodeo bulls, who escape eventual slaughter only if so badly injured as to be shot at ringside.
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