MEDIA RELEASE: Alameda Moves to Ban Wild Cow Milking at Rodeos

MEDIA RELEASE: Alameda Moves to Ban Wild Cow Milking at Rodeos

ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (Sept. 22, 2022)In Defense of Animals welcomes an ordinance amendment that would ban the rodeo event wild cow milking in unincorporated Alameda County, despite a reduction in initially proposed animal protection measures.

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors heard hours of public comment regarding an ordinance amendment that would ban the “use [of] spurs or bucking straps upon any animal during any entertainment or sporting event, including during a rodeo or practice for a rodeo." It would have also banned tie-down calf roping and wild cow milking.

Wild cow milking is an event that exploits lactating mother cows who are separated from their nursing calves and forced into a loud, bright arena. Two competitors on horseback then violently rope her and forcefully take her milk. These events are traumatic and terrifying for the cows involved, and inherently carry a high risk of injury.

Watch: Wild-cow milking video

Veterinarians, animal sanctuary founders and consultants, and animal advocates were among those who advocated at the meeting for the animals who are brutalized by rodeo events and tools. Over 18,000 In Defense of Animals supporters have contacted the Board of Supervisors urging them to end cruel rodeo practices including wild cow milking.

After deliberation by the Board, Supervisor Richard Valle introduced a motion that would strike all provisions from the originally proposed amendment except for the prohibition of wild cow milking, removing language that included banning spurs, flank straps, and tie-down calf roping. Supervisor Dave Brown seconded the motion to push forward a ban solely on wild cow milking. 

Board members ultimately voted to approve the newly-amended ordinance banning only wild cow milking in unincorporated Alameda County, but this ordinance amendment will need to be read by the supervisors and voted on for a second time before it becomes law. If the amendment receives the necessary votes for a second time, it will become law 30 days later. A date for this second reading and vote has not yet been determined but will likely occur in October.

“Thousands of In Defense of Animals supporters want all rodeo cruelty ended in Alameda County, but we still strongly support a ban on wild cow milking. We continue to urge the Board of Supervisors to approve this important ordinance amendment for a second time. This ban would protect lactating mother cows, separated from their nursing babies, from being subjected to this distressing event, which is a step in the right direction,” said Erin Dobrzyn, Farmed Animals Campaigner with In Defense of Animals.

In a particularly gruesome Rowell Ranch Rodeo incident in 2014, a female cow attempted to escape during a wild cow milking event by trying to jump over a fence. In her panic, she landed on her head, suffering a broken neck. She was later euthanized due to her injuries.

In 2019, after being contacted by hundreds of In Defense of Animals supporters, the board took a step in the right direction by passing a ban on cruel “mutton busting” — a brutal event where children jump on and ride terrified sheep.

“The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has a history of acting on concerns related to animal welfare in entertainment, as seen with their ban on mutton busting. A ban on wild cow milking would provide much-needed relief to mother cows who would be forced into these cruel events which have proven to be lethally dangerous,” added Dobrzyn.


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Contact: Erin Dobrzyn,, (215) 620-2130

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in Marin County, California, with over 250,000 supporters and a 39-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

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