Help end rodeo cruelty on Vancouver Island!

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Help end rodeo cruelty on Vancouver Island!

(This is a guest post by Melissa de Meulles of Victoria Citizens Against Rodeo Events)

There is a small suburb just north of Victoria, the City of Langford, where each May long weekend the annual Luxton Pro Rodeo (LPR) takes place. This is the last rodeo operating on Vancouver Island. (Learn more about rodeo cruelty.)

This rodeo is sanctioned by the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. Most participants travel from Alberta and Saskatchewan to compete for points in the circuit and cash prizes. This weekend long rodeo includes calf roping (also known as tie down roping), team roping, steer wrestling, horse and bull riding, and “mutton bustin'”. There is also a midway, displays and other attractions, such as a dance.

The rodeo animals are provided by Big Stone Rodeo Co. in Cessford, Alberta. These creatures must travel the rodeo circuit and perform again and again throughout the season. These high-speed roping and riding events cause fear and anxiety in the animals. Some animal behaviorists have determined this can be even more damaging than the physical injuries! The animals are in danger of injury and death, all for entertainment.

Luxton Rodeo-Matthew Wolfe-2013 May-2

A frightened calf during a team roping event at the Luxton Pro Rodeo, May 2013 (Photo: Matthew Wolfe)

I have lived in Langford and neighbouring municipalities all my life. In 2012 my urge to speak out about the rodeo intensified. Since then, Victoria Citizens Against Rodeo Events (VCARE) was formed. We have demonstrated outside the fairgrounds for the past two years and received local written media and radio coverage and our numbers are growing.

The City of Langford has been asked to consider a bylaw that will ban:

  • Tie down roping (aka calf roping)
  • Team roping
  • Steer wrestling
  • Flank straps
  • Caustic ointments
  • Electric prods/shocking devices
  • Forcible handling techniques such as tail-twisting, hitting, kicking

For those who have never had the displeasure of viewing the rodeo, here is what a few of these consist of:

  • Tie Down Roping:  in this timed event, a young calf is forced out of a chute into an arena where she or he is chased by a horse and rider at speeds averaging 25 miles per hour. The calf is roped around the neck, jerked to the ground, then lifted and thrown to the ground where the rider then ties three of the calf’s legs.
  • Team Roping: an older calf is used in this timed event where two riders on horseback have to rope the animal and bring it to the ground. One ropes the neck and the other, the back legs. Once this is completed, the animal is pulled in both directions until he or she falls.
  • Steer Wrestling: a rider on horseback chases a steer, jumps onto his head and neck while violently twisting the neck to bring the steer to the ground in the quickest time possible.
  • Flank Strap: a strap which is used in bull and horse riding events to induce bucking in these normally docile creatures. The strap is tightly attached around the rear torso of the animal, which causes the animal to appear wild and buck until it is removed and discomfort/pain subsides.

As you can imagine, these events are traumatizing and can result in broken limbs, necks, and even death as demonstrated at events throughout North America.

The LPR has ignored our correspondence and existence to date and in 2012, Mayor Young of the City of Langford advised us that we would not likely receive support from council as they were not animal safety experts. If events were inhumane, we had to prove it!

In order to do so, a local photographer, Matthew Wolfe, volunteered to attend the rodeo as a spectator and document some of the events with his camera. Currently VCARE is running an ad campaign with these photos taken in May 2013 at the Luxton Pro Rodeo in local papers to inform citizens and ask them to act:

newspaper ad

VCARE needs funds to publish more newspaper ads like this one, which features a young calf being used in a tie-down roping (or calf-roping) event.

Based on the 2013 LPR program, we have also created a list of sponsors to be boycotted, including Cloverdale Paint, Budweiser, and Fountain Tire.  For a complete list, please contact us at

With emails going to the City of Langford and sponsors, the pressure is mounting.

VCARE recently requested to present to Langford council as a delegation. The Deputy Clerk has advised that she has been requested by council to perform “research” and VCARE should contact them in September. We are hopeful that the research is due to a consideration being made to implement a bylaw restricting rodeo events and practices in the City of Langford.

In the meantime, as we prepare to present to council, VCARE is asking all who care about animals to contact Langford and let them know how they feel about the Luxton Pro Rodeo:

And contribute to fund more ads if they are able:

As I say in my replies to those who email us in support of the rodeo:

These events are slowly but surely being banned around the world.
The suffering will end in Langford soon enough.

Compassion is a journey and some people get further than others.

For more information we can be reached at or find us on social media:!/vcare2013

[Note: VCARE has also set up a petition asking the city to enact a ban on the cruelest events at the Luxton Pro Rodeo.  You can sign it here.]


Hayley Holroyd

July 10, 2013 at 10:28 am

Thank you so much for this incredibly vital work that you’re doing.
This rodeo is saddening beyond belief and I feel extremely passionate about ending this cruelty. I will be writing a letter to the council to hopefully bring some sense to this ludicrous situation.

Thank you again for all that you’re doing.
Hayley 🙂

Lyla Mclean

July 10, 2013 at 8:38 pm

You could post a petition on, and

Melissa de Meulles

July 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm

We do have a pettion, I didn’t think to include in theblog:

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