Friday, February 19, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 97

Mitchell on Sweeps

Letters to the Editor

Editorial Cartoon

About the Cougar

Staff Editorial


John Harp                Ed De La Garza 
Michelle Norton     Jim Parsons 

Elsie can't defend herself

Human beings are cruel by nature. We say we're not, but we're only fooling ourselves. As children, we pulled the tails off lizards to see if they would grow back. We also used a magnifying glass to see if we could burn a whole in an ant. Oh, and then there was the popular ripping the wings off flies.

But that was when we were kids, right? When we didn't know any better? Unfortunately, as much as we would like to believe this, it's just not true. As grown-ups, we are still cruel.

Take, for instance, the rodeo events at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Some of the most inhumane activities that the world has ever known take place there every night.

There's the bull-riding event where a bull, kept in isolation beforehand, is forced to buck up and down with a rope attatched to its head that the rider is pulling.

Why are we so entertained seeing a cowboy attempt to stay on an enraged bull for 6 seconds? Is it because the bull is upset and the cowboy is risking his life? Hell yeah.

Have we ever stopped for one second to think about why the bull is upset? Could it be because his head is constantly being jerked upward for the entertainment of thousands of yokels?

In addition to this cruelty is the steer-wrestling event. A steer is forced to run out of a cage, and the cowboy running alongside it attempts to wrestle it to the ground.

He grabs the steer's horns and jerks its head to flip its body to the ground. Isn't there the potential for breaking the steer's neck? Every year, we hear of steers having to be put to sleep ­ if they're not already dead ­ because a cowboy was "playing too rough."

So if we are acting so inhumane, then why do we do this? Why do we put the lives of innocent animals at risk for our pleasure? The answer is simple: money.

Every year the HLS&R makes millions of dollars entertaining Houstonians at the expense of livestock animals.

Why can't we just let the animals be? Why can't we just enjoy the livestock ­ this may be a radical idea ­ at the "livestock" show instead of subjecting them to cruelty?

Oh, that's right. The money.


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