Practical Issues > Entertainment > Rodeo - Index
In Defense of Professional Bull Riders, Inc.


As both an animal lover and fan of the PBR (Professional Bull Riders, Inc.), I stumbled upon your site and the article concerning your group's protest at a 2008 PBR event. After attending my first PBR event and LOVING it, I struggled with how to reconcile my passion for animal welfare and the sport of bull riding. I did a lot of research and discovered that, especially at the PBR level, the bucking bulls are treated at least as well as the human athletes. They are highly respected and valued -- in fact, they are consistently referred to as elite athletes. They're held in the same esteem as the cowboys who try -- often unsuccessfully -- to ride them.

While there may be some unreputable events in the United States, you couldn't be further off base with the PBR. For your convenience, I've included a link to their page on animal welfare. They are trying to make their animal welfare policies standard throughout the entire industry. But, like the idiots who promote and participate in dog fights, there will always be those who abuse the bulls.

I can tell you this... the testicles are not touched by the flank strap which is mostly simply an annoyance for the bull. At the PBR level, the bulls have been carefully bred for their bucking desire and ability. Clearly, the testicles are one of the most important parts of the bull -- so why would someone tie a rope around them?

Regarding the spurs... the PBR has instituted two kinds of spurs that can be worn. They are dull so that they don't injure the bull. Did you know that the bull's hide is seven times as thick as ours? Those spurs can't come close to hurting those bulls.

You may not know that the PBR redesigned the chutes in order eliminate leg injuries for the bulls -- the injuries which, in the past, were responsible for the largest number of career ending and/or life threatening injuries. Since the redesign, these injuries have been completely eliminated. In fact, while the cowboy has a high probability of being killed every time he rides, the bull has a .004% chance of sustaining a career-ending or life-threatening injury. If he does sustain a career-ending injury -- and that is determined after hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical care -- he is retired. Retired. Not euthanized. Only five bulls have been euthanized since the PBR started.

I don't support any other bull riding organizations unless I can verify their animal welfare policies. I have been to several events and have been fortunate enough to see the animals close up and behind the scenes. They are treasured members of the PBR and the fans love the bulls, they root for the bulls, as much as they do the riders.

I agree that the disreputable people and rodeos should be put out of business, but it doesn't make sense to protest the one group who ensures that bad things DON'T happen to the bulls. I hope you've read my entire message and that you understand my position. It's sort of like saying we shouldn't have pets because some people abuse their pets. Do you know what I'm saying? Anyway. I attached the link. I hope you find it useful. And I hope your organization is able to put a stop to real animal cruelty -- I support your efforts wholeheartedly.

I might also point out that the reactions you got from some of the fans stems from their emotional response to your misinformation. It doesn't excuse most of their behavior; but I could see myself becoming angry in the same situation. I'd be willing to bet that, had I been there, you wouldn't have been willing to listen to all I've said here. Protest situations are emotional for all sides. This time, you really were wrong. But your heart was definitely in the right place.

Take Care.

Julie Tucker

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