Rowell Ranch Rodeo can keep controversial events

Read the original article by Ali Tadayon at here.

Despite efforts from animal rights activists to rid wild cow milking and mutton busting from Hayward’s Rowell Ranch Rodeo, the events can continue.

The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District board voted 4-1 Thursday to include the events, as well as the use of electric prods on horses at the rodeo, in the district’s Animal Welfare Policy for rodeos. Mutton busting — which consists of children riding sheep — was not previously addressed in the policy.

The rodeo, which is in its 98th year and will be held May 18 through the 20th, is held at Rowell Ranch, which is managed by the park’s district. The site’s former owners, Maggie and Harry Rowell, specified in their will that they would only allow the district to purchase the ranch if it was made available to the Castro Valley rodeo and junior rodeo.

Bob Sakai, the Rowells’ attorney, told board members at Thursday’s meeting that restricting the activities at the rodeo could be construed as a violation of the agreement.

Veterinarians, animal welfare experts and rodeo professionals spoke at the meeting both in support and opposition of mutton busting and wild cow milking.

The animal rights activists showed videos of the events at past years’ Rowell Ranch Rodeos, and talked about the stress the events put on the animals and potential for injuries to both the animals and the participants.

The rodeo professionals told the board about the precautions that are taken before the events and the rules in place to make sure the animals and participants are safe.

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