Livermore rodeo acts voluntarily; Boone County flouts Illinois law, own ordinances, and even Mexican Federation of Charreria rules
LIVERMORE, California; BELVIDERE, Illinois––Probably the most remarkable aspect of the Livermore Rodeo board of directors’ recent decision to drop so-called “wild cow milking” from the June 2023 edition of one of California’s oldest and largest rodeos is that the rodeo board was under no compulsion to do so.
Probably the most remarkable aspect of the Boone County, Illinois board of supervisors’ decision to allow local charreada or Mexican-style rodeos to continue without restraint is that the board of supervisors was obligated to prohibit or at least restrain some of those events if the board followed Illinois state law, previously adopted local ordinances, and even the rules of the Mexican Federation of Charreria, which––as Showing Animals Respect & Kindness documented––were flouted throughout the 2022 Boone County charreada season.
What is “wild cow milking”?
“Wild cow milking,” described the Livermore Independent Weekly, “involves a team of three cowboys attempting to catch and milk a wild cow in a small arena. The cow is typically a beef cow, who is not used to being handled by people and understandably becomes scared and agitated.
“One individual called the ‘mugger,’ is tasked with holding the animal’s head. Another, the ‘milker,’ attempts to milk the cow. Some teams have an ‘anchor man,’ whose primary duty is to hold the rope that restrains the cow.”
“It’s brainless. It’s stupid.”
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors in late 2022 prohibited “wild cow milking” at rodeos in the unincorporated part of the county.
“Although the Livermore Rodeo was not required to end the contest because it is under the jurisdiction of the City of Livermore, which does not have such a ban, rodeo officials said they would no longer host the event,” wrote Livermore Independent Weekly reporter Larry Altman.
“It’s brainless. It’s stupid,” Action for Animals founder Eric Mills told Altman, having worked for decades to stop “wild cow milking” and many other rodeo events.
“Cruelty to animals is just unpardonable, especially just for entertainment sake. I’m really pleased at this development,” Mills added.
The Livermore Rodeo will continue to offer traditional roping and bucking events.
(See Exposed in California & Illinois: the most perverse events in rodeo, Los Angeles rodeo clowns hide behind girls riding sidesaddle, “Cultural” defenses for charreada & cockfighting crumble, and Rodeo “wild cow milking”: living legacy of rich alleged child molester.)
Lawyer sent Boone County request to deny charreada permits
From the opposite end of Alameda County, Jessica L Blome of the Greenfire Law firm in Berkeley, California, on March 6, 2023 sent to six Boone County, Illinois public officials a 14-page “Request to Deny Temporary Use Permit Applications for La Charreada Events in Violation of the Boone County Zoning Ordinance,” written on behalf of Showing Animals Respect & Kindness and the Humane Farming Association.
The Blome letter detailed numerous instances of alleged violations of Illinois state law, Boone County ordinances, and Mexican Federation of Charreria rules, adherence to which are among the conditions specified by the Boone County permits granted annually to the four known local charreada locations.
Charreada owners “give sigh of relief”
However, Maria Gardner Lara reported for Northern Public Radio, broadcasting on two channels––WNIJ and WNIU––owned by the University of Northern Illinois in DeKalb, “Rodeo owners were able to give a sigh of relief when the Boone County Board failed to pass a measure eliminating the cultural and sporting events from the county.”
Continued Lara, “Charreadas have been hosted in Boone County for at least 25 years, according to several rodeo operators.
“If the measure had passed it would have reduced the number of permits from four to two and would have eliminated all competitions involving animals––basically eliminating the rodeos. Last year the board reduced the number of rodeos [rodeo locations] from six to four.
“The legislation failed to garner majority support with a five to six vote and one member abstaining.”
Lara extensively paraphrased “Gracie Roble, a rodeo owner for the last 12 years,” who “pointed to the business the rodeos bring to the area as spectators stop by gas stations and local shops. She said rodeo costs to cover security, permits and waste management generate more than $100,000 in revenue to the region.”
Lara also detailed allegations by charreada advocates that the opposition to charreada is motivated by cultural friction.
For example, Lara quoted Boone County resident Ed Randall, “I think it’s very strange that we can have a county rodeo in our county every year. But yet, when you look at the heritage of a Mexican rodeo, that is a problem.”
Ignored was that Showing Animals Respect & Kindness has a 30-year history of monitoring the Boone County Rodeo, videotaping and publicizing animal abuse at the rodeo.
Northern Public Radio ignores evidence
Lara also mentioned that charreada supporters “argued it’s a matter of one alleged incident,” without noting that Showing Animals Respect & Kindness in 2022 videotaped more than 350 incidents of charreada participants flogging horses with straps, punching horses in the head, and repeatedly running visibly exhausted and limping steers through the chutes to be jerked down by their tails fifteen times or more in an afternoon.
Infuriated, Hindi on March 29, 2023 personally confronted Northern Public Radio station manager Staci Hoste at her DeKalb office, who refused to watch the extensive video evidence.
[Note: ANIMALS 24-7 reviews all relevant evidence we can come by, pertaining to any topic we report about. This is how we have always committed journalism, for more than half a century.]
“They don’t want to hear from us”
“WNIJ has now refused to reach out for comment, twice, because they don’t want to hear from us that this is a non-race issue,” said Showing Animals Respect & Kindness outreach coordinator Eva Hindi, who is Steve Hindi’s adult daughter.
“It is about animal abuse,” Eva Hindi emphasized. “They don’t want to have to admit that a small part of their community is beating horses and breaking steers, all in the name of competition and entertainment.
“Steve was raised in the projects of St. Paul,” Eva Hindi continued. An Arab-American himself on both sides of his family, a member of one of the most discriminated ethnic minorities in the U.S., “he was raised in a melting pot of people of color. He worked with people of color, for people of color, and hired people of color as he moved up through the ranks of” Allied Tubular Rivet, his employer for 40 years.
“This is an animal issue”
“This is not a racial issue,” Eva Hindi again emphasized. “This is an animal abuse issue. Pigeon shoots, cockfights, rodeos, charreadas. These are the focuses of our attention, solely due to the abuses that animals are being subjected to. There is no one race, and no one group of people who are responsible for animal abuse.
“However,” Eva Hindi reminded, “there are laws that are in place to protect animals from these abuses. Unfortunately these laws are being broken. And in certain cases,” especially involving charreada, “even the rules set in place for the specific events are even being disregarded and therefore invalidate the events.
“Alleging racism makes it easy to invalidate our words”
“There is no law or rule,” Eva Hindi pointed out, “that says it is acceptable to paralyze a steer, drag him around the arena, abandon him confused and alone for hours, and then shoot him twice in the head, behind a barn, all without a vet on site to euthanize the animal humanely and quickly.
“We brought these facts to the board of Boone County, to show them the laws of the state, and even the rules for charreadas themselves to show the abandonment of regulation these locations are exhibiting,” Eva Hindi continued.
“But there are still board members, and journalists, who would rather ignore the facts and instead skew the realities of these abuses into a completely different situation that has absolutely nothing with what we are trying to address. Alleging racism makes it easy to invalidate our words.”
Three charreada participants charged
At least three participants in the 2022 Boone County charreada season have been criminally charged as result of Showing Animals Respect & Kindness video documentation.
Said Steve Hindi, “One of the horse abusers, Jose Aguilar, was charged with criminal misdemeanor. Not surprisingly, Jose was arrested two weeks later for domestic violence.”
(See Horses Beaten, Hard Reigned, Spurred in Boone County.)
In addition, charreada property owners Jose and Maria Lopez were each charged with two counts of animal cruelty and two charges of failure to perform owner’s duties, after failing to promptly euthanize two badly injured steers, who were eventually ineptly shot.
These incidents are shown in a Showing Animals Respect & Kindness video entitled Animal Hell in Boone County, Illinois.
Eric Mills, ACTION FOR ANIMALS says
Charreadas feature nine scored events, three of which involve roping the legs of running horses, either front (“manganas” – two styles, one from horseback, the other on foot), or rear (“piales”). Worst of all, IMO, is the “steer tailing” event (“colas” aka “coleadero”). (See photo above.). I worked on a case near Denver a few years ago in which SEVEN steers had their tails stripped to the bone (“degloved’), while two others suffered a broken pelvis and broken leg, requiring euthanasia. No vet was present, according to the local Sheriff’s Dept. The horses involved sometimes suffer broken legs when the steers run the wrong way. “Steer tailing” is not a standard ranching practice anywhere in the United States. CLEARLY, LEGISLATION IS IN ORDER–BOTH COUNTY AND STATE–to outlaw this blatant cruelty. Even Cesar Chavez was an outspoken critic.
Mary Finelli says
Eric, congratulations and thank you very much on bringing an end to that disgusting cruelty there. Can you say what you attribute your success to?
Eric Mills says
PERSEVERANCE! Plus lots of letters to the editors of local newspapers, and the powers-that-be.
Jamaka Petzak says
“Brainless and stupid” indeed. Indefensible on any grounds, as well. Culture is fluid and hopefully, progresses with the times and our continuing education. MANY horrific practices, involving humans and animals or just humans, have been discontinued as we evolve. These need to go as well.
Sharing with gratitude.
Linda Middlesworth says
STOP this inherent cruelty to mama cows with this EVIL milking contest. How do you think human mamas would feel if you did it to them. This is just inhumane and the terrified cows do not deserve this!