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County supervisors ban wild cow milking, maintain use of 'essential equipment' for rodeos

Amendment clears spurs, bucking straps, non-release ropes for continued use

Alameda County supervisors voted Tuesday to ban the rodeo practice of wild cow milking in unincorporated parts of the county following hours of public comment and discussion.

Alameda County seal.

Supervisors Richard Valle and Dave Brown introduced the ordinance and it passed unanimously.

Wild cow milking is just as the name suggests. A two-man team tries to get milk from a cow turned loose in an arena, as defined by the West of the Pecos Rodeo in Pecos, Texas.

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, known as the world's oldest and largest sanctioning body for rodeos, does not include wild cow milking as a sanctioned event at its rodeos.

"We are pleased with the way the (meeting) went," said Scott Dorenkamp, livestock program and government relations manager with the association, though the group wished the issue hadn't come up.

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Dorenkamp was rather pleased with the amendment made by Valle, which maintained the use of spurs, bucking straps and non-release ropes at rodeos. Those items are equipment essential to a "quality rodeo product," Dorenkamp said.

He believes the people wanting to ban that equipment really want to outlaw rodeos.

Matt Johnson with the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere, which has opposed horse racing and staged a protest before the supervisors' meeting, wouldn't say yes or no on whether Dorenkamp's allegation was true.

Johnson said Ringling Brothers is bringing back the circus without animals. He suggested rodeos could change, too.

Valle said his intention was not to hurt rodeos, such as Rowell Ranch Rodeo in unincorporated Alameda County. He said during the meeting that he saw a middle ground that would protect rodeos and ban wild cow milking, which he did by introducing an amendment to the original ordinance.

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"Animals, they don't step up to the podium," Valle said. "They don't get a chance to speak. Who speaks for them?"

Four supervisors voted in favor of the amendment. Supervisor David Haubert voted against it.

He thought the county should rely on the state or federal government to regulate wild cow milking.

Haubert and Board of Supervisors Vice President Nate Miley preferred that county committees take a look at issues coming before the Board of Supervisors before the board looks at them.

"That's my big frustration," Miley said, because that did not happen.

But it's not required by county law or policy. Supervisors can introduce items without vetting them through committees.

Miley also said the consideration of Valle and Brown's proposal took away from the discussion and action on vital issues in the county such as homelessness and mental health.

Haubert had a similar opinion.

"People are literally dying in our streets," he said.

In 2019, supervisors voted to ban mutton busting, a practice where children ride a sheep like adults ride a steer during a rodeo.

Supervisors also considered banning wild cow milking in 2019.

No one from Rowell Ranch Rodeo responded by mid-Wednesday afternoon to a request for comment on the board's action.

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County supervisors ban wild cow milking, maintain use of 'essential equipment' for rodeos

Amendment clears spurs, bucking straps, non-release ropes for continued use

by Keith Burbank / Bay City News Service

Uploaded: Sun, Sep 25, 2022, 10:59 am

Alameda County supervisors voted Tuesday to ban the rodeo practice of wild cow milking in unincorporated parts of the county following hours of public comment and discussion.

Supervisors Richard Valle and Dave Brown introduced the ordinance and it passed unanimously.

Wild cow milking is just as the name suggests. A two-man team tries to get milk from a cow turned loose in an arena, as defined by the West of the Pecos Rodeo in Pecos, Texas.

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, known as the world's oldest and largest sanctioning body for rodeos, does not include wild cow milking as a sanctioned event at its rodeos.

"We are pleased with the way the (meeting) went," said Scott Dorenkamp, livestock program and government relations manager with the association, though the group wished the issue hadn't come up.

Dorenkamp was rather pleased with the amendment made by Valle, which maintained the use of spurs, bucking straps and non-release ropes at rodeos. Those items are equipment essential to a "quality rodeo product," Dorenkamp said.

He believes the people wanting to ban that equipment really want to outlaw rodeos.

Matt Johnson with the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere, which has opposed horse racing and staged a protest before the supervisors' meeting, wouldn't say yes or no on whether Dorenkamp's allegation was true.

Johnson said Ringling Brothers is bringing back the circus without animals. He suggested rodeos could change, too.

Valle said his intention was not to hurt rodeos, such as Rowell Ranch Rodeo in unincorporated Alameda County. He said during the meeting that he saw a middle ground that would protect rodeos and ban wild cow milking, which he did by introducing an amendment to the original ordinance.

"Animals, they don't step up to the podium," Valle said. "They don't get a chance to speak. Who speaks for them?"

Four supervisors voted in favor of the amendment. Supervisor David Haubert voted against it.

He thought the county should rely on the state or federal government to regulate wild cow milking.

Haubert and Board of Supervisors Vice President Nate Miley preferred that county committees take a look at issues coming before the Board of Supervisors before the board looks at them.

"That's my big frustration," Miley said, because that did not happen.

But it's not required by county law or policy. Supervisors can introduce items without vetting them through committees.

Miley also said the consideration of Valle and Brown's proposal took away from the discussion and action on vital issues in the county such as homelessness and mental health.

Haubert had a similar opinion.

"People are literally dying in our streets," he said.

In 2019, supervisors voted to ban mutton busting, a practice where children ride a sheep like adults ride a steer during a rodeo.

Supervisors also considered banning wild cow milking in 2019.

No one from Rowell Ranch Rodeo responded by mid-Wednesday afternoon to a request for comment on the board's action.

Comments

Eric Mills
Registered user
another community
on Sep 25, 2022 at 4:30 pm
Eric Mills, another community
Registered user
on Sep 25, 2022 at 4:30 pm

The Board of Supervisors dropped the ball in 2019 when they had a chance to ban both "mutton busting" and "wild cow milking, two non-sanctioned rodeo events. The Board banned the former, but not the latter. Curious, since "wild cow milking" is far more problematic than "mutton busting," and had been our main focus from the very beginning. The proposed ban on both events had major support: Alameda County Veterinary Medical Association, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (with 1400 CA members), East Bay SPCA, CA State Humane Association, Ohlone Humane Society, Hayward Friends of Animals, Humane Farming Association, Action for Animals, In Defense of Animals, Animal Legal Defense Fund, et al. A petition posted by Animal Place garnered more than 180,000 signatures. This ain't rocket science, folks.
Keep in mind that these are still-lactating BEEF cows, not dairy. As such, they are unused to being handled at all, much less this roughly. One of these frantic cows, already stressed by being separated from her still-nursing calf, jumped the fence at the 2014 Rowell Ranch Rodeo. She landed on her head and suffered a broken neck and prolapsed eyeball. She had to be euthanized, leaving an orphaned calf. Another of these cows suffered a broken leg at the 2004 Livermore Rodeo, with a similar sad end. (NOTE: The Livermore Rodeo is within the city limits and will NOT be affected by the Board's decision. The Livermore City Council needs to hear from a concerned public.) STATE LEGISLATION IS IN ORDER. SEE THE MANY YOUTUBE VIDEOS IF IN DOUBT.
Worth noting that that cows are provided by local rancher RUSS FIELDS, who is also president of the Rowell Ranch Rodeo Committee. In a 2018 KGO-TV interview, Mr. Fields told reporter Dan Noyes that, "Nyaay, animals don't feel fear. They're an ANIMAL!" The mind boggles.
Rodeo has almost nothing to do with ranching. It's mostly hype, a macho exercise in DOMINATION. Some "traditions" need to end.


Eric Mills
Registered user
another community
on Sep 25, 2022 at 5:12 pm
Eric Mills, another community
Registered user
on Sep 25, 2022 at 5:12 pm

Clearly, some state-wide rodeo legislation is in order.
SOME POSSIBILITIES:
1. Ban "wild cow milking, "mutton busting," "goat tying," & all animal "scrambles";
2. Ban "tie-down calf roping," allowing "breakaway" roping only;
3. Ban the rodeo's use of flank straps. Note that the horses and bulls do not stop bucking when the rider is thrown or dismounts, but only after the flank strap/rope is released.
4. Ban the Mexican charreada's brutal "steer tailing" event, already outlawed in both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties (1993) , and by the State of Nebraska in 2008;
5. Amend CA state rodeo law, Penal Code 596.7 so as to require ON-SITE veterinary care at ALL rodeos and charreadas. The current "on-call vet" option is not working, and animals are suffering accordingly. Racetracks, horse shows & endurance rides all require vets on-site. Why not all rodeos and charreadas. (NOTE: The PRCA has required on-site vets only since 1996, after FIVE
animals were killed at the 1995 California Rodeo/Salinas.)
All legislators may be written c/o The State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814. Most decide in Oct/Nov upon which bills to carry in the coming session (January 2023).
EMAIL ADDRESS PATTERN FOR ALL: [email protected]
[email protected]
LET THEM HEAR FROM YOU!
x
Eric Mills, coordinator
ACTION FOR ANIMALS
Oakland - [email protected]


Karen Rubio
Registered user
another community
on Sep 25, 2022 at 5:36 pm
Karen Rubio, another community
Registered user
on Sep 25, 2022 at 5:36 pm

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors at last banned “wild cow milking.” In this disgusting spectacle, a lactating beef cow is separated from her baby, chased into an arena, tackled by men and forcibly milked. Dominating a mother to take her milk – and calling it entertainment – just because she is of another species? When you actually think about it, this is sick and perverted.

Unfortunately, the Board elected not to ban spurs, ropes or bucking straps. The bucking strap is cinched tightly around the bull’s flank and penis, causing so much pain he’ll violently buck. Calf roping is worse: Flipping a 250-pound calf mid-run causes severe injury such as hemorrhage, broken blood vessels, damage to neck muscles, thyroid and trachea.

Exploiting animals for entertainment is so last century. Time to end this cruel “tradition.”.


Eric Mills
Registered user
another community
on Sep 25, 2022 at 6:03 pm
Eric Mills, another community
Registered user
on Sep 25, 2022 at 6:03 pm

A FEW CHOICE RODEO QUOTES:

“If ever there were a completely gratuitous abuse of animals, and often baby animals at that, all done for the sheer thrill and bravado of it, it is rodeo.” (--Matthew Scully, in his 2002 book DOMINION. Scully is a former speech writer for Pres. George W. Bush.)

"Do I think it hurts the calf? Sure I do. I'm not stupid." (--Keith Martin, chair of the board, PRCA. In the 2/6/2000 San Antonio Express News, "Choosing Champions," by reporter Elizabeth Allen)

"Yeah, I accidentally killed and injured lots of calves when I was learning. I mean, I plain roped their heads off." (--a PRCA calf roper, "The mud, the blood & the poop," by PRCA reporter Gavin Ehringer, Colorado Springs Independent, August 19, 2004)

“The single worst thing you can do to an animal emotionally is to make it feel afraid. Fear is so bad for animals I think it’s worse than pain.” (--Dr. Temple Grandin, world-renowned animal behaviorist)

“Do animals feel fear? Nyaah, they don’t feel fear. They’re an ANIMAL!" (--Russ Fields, Castro Valley, CA rancher and president of the Rowell Ranch Rodeo Committee, 5/19/18 KGO-TV segment)

“As a lawyer, the ‘wild cow milking contest’ reminds me of rape cases I have tried in state court. Appalling!” (--Dr. Peggy Larson, veterinarian & former rodeo bronc rider, in a 2015 letter to the Hayward Area Rec & Park District.

“Women should not rodeo any more than men can have babies. Women were put on earth to reproduce, and are close to animals. Women’s liberation is on an equal to gay liberation—they are both ridiculous.” (--a Wyoming steer wrestler in the book, “RODEO: An Anthropologist Looks at the Wild and the Tame,” by Elizabeth Atwood Lawrence, Univ. Tenn. Press, 1982)

“The eighteen-year-old rodeo queen and her princess told me that rodeo people, including themselves, ‘hated Democrats, environmentalists, and gays.’” (--from “Rodeo Queens and the American Dream,” by Joan Burbick, Public Affairs, NYC, 2002)


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