Psychologists for the Promotion of Animal Welfare
6th February, 2006
Rodeos as Family Entertainment
Recent incidents, one in early January and the second in late January caused significant public concern about welfare implications for the animals involved in Rodeos.
Associate Professor, Eleonora Gullone, Chairperson of the APS Interest Group Psychologists for the Promotion of Animal Welfare, says “Whilst animal welfare is a major concern as seen by the blatantly cruel behaviour toward the badly injured bull, the message that is being communicated to the public is of even more serious concern”.
According to Gullone, “the animals in rodeos are clearly distressed. The events are based on a dominance battle between humans and animals. The animals have been bullied into a state of fear and distress where they have no choice but to fight back.”
Commenting on the significant and growing amount of research showing that people who derive joy from causing distress or harm to other living beings are more likely than those who don’t to engage in antisocial behaviour including violent and criminal behaviour, Gullone says “Marketing rodeos as family entertainment is a big concern from a psychological point of view. In particular, communicating the message to children that it is fun to battle with a frightened and distressed animal teaches them that the suffering of other living beings is a source of entertainment and enjoyment.”
She adds “with bullying being a major concern in today’s schools, and with research showing a link between animal cruelty and bullying, as a society, we need to be cautious about the behaviours we endorse
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