MEDIA RELEASE: VIDEO: Electric Shocks & Animal Cruelty at Tucson Rodeo Protested

MEDIA RELEASE: VIDEO: Electric Shocks & Animal Cruelty at Tucson Rodeo Protested

TUCSON, Ariz. (Feb. 21, 2023)In Defense of Animals and Tucson-based Supporting and Promoting Ethics for the Animal Kingdom (SPEAK) protested animal cruelty at the Tucson Rodeo on its opening day, Saturday, Feb. 18. Activists gathered in front of the arena at the Tucson Rodeo grounds to oppose the abusive spectacle and raise awareness about the use of electric shocks on animals, which officials have been urged to ban. Another demonstration is planned for finals day, Sunday, Feb. 26, from 12:45-2:15 pm.


Rodeo is an inherently cruel activity, traumatizing and injuring animals for entertainment. Docile animals are provoked into action through pain, often inflicted using spurs, straps, and electroshock devices. Animals used in the events are exempted from Animal Welfare Act protections.

For more than a decade, SPEAK and Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) have obtained undercover video footage revealing routine shocking of animals at Tucson Rodeo. Hot-Shot electric shock devices are used to inflict pain on animals with 5,000-6,000-volts of electricity. Horses and bulls are regularly and intentionally given painful electric shocks as the chute opens to make them run and buck in fear. 



Investigators have documented animals abused with Hot-Shots at the Tucson Rodeo every time they visited the arena.

Hot-Shot does not condone the use of its electric prod on horses, including horses in a rodeo environment.

Animal handlers at Tucson Rodeo attempt to hide devices and abuse behind fences and clothing. When workers are caught shocking animals, Tucson Rodeo claims only to shock “problem animals” or in “special circumstances,” despite evidence of routine abuse. 

Attempts to conceal and downplay the abuse reveal the rodeo is aware its animal mistreatment is unacceptable to the public. 

Many rodeos have outlawed the use of electric shock devices on animals, including the world’s largest rodeo, Cheyenne Frontier Days. This abusive practice has nothing to do with tradition, as rodeos existed long before shock prods were invented. 

Over 15,000 people have signed In Defense of Animalsalert urging Mayor Regina Romero and the Tucson City Council to ban electric shock devices.

Concerned Arizonans alerted rodeo-goers to animal cruelty at Tucson Rodeo and urged Mayor Romero and Tucson City Council to ban electroshock devices. Photo: In Defense of Animals

“Tucson Rodeo inflicts stress, fear, and pain on innocent animals,” said Brittany Michelson, Captive Animals Campaigner for In Defense of Animals. “Shocks and straps force animals to flee and buck in fear, often causing injuries or death. We are calling on Mayor Romero and the Tucson City Council to take a stand against animal cruelty. Thousands of In Defense of Animals supporters want Tucson to ban electric shock devices as a bare minimum to stop the abusive rodeo.”

“With the rodeo in its 98th year, will it really take our community a century to finally realize that there's no such thing as a rodeo without animal cruelty? The real concern is not how many people are admitted to the event, but rather how many people in the arena admit to the animal abuse that they witness,” said SPEAK president Gary Vella.

Members of the public are encouraged to boycott the Tucson Rodeo and take action:


### NOTES ###


Images: Animal Cruelty at Tucson Rodeo

Images: Demonstration at Tucson Rodeo


Video: Tucson Rodeo protest

Video: Tucson Rodeo manager falsely claims no injuries

Video: Tucson Rodeo 2019 - roped, injured bull who can't stand up; footage by

Video: Tucson Rodeo 2019 - downed bull carted out of the arena; footage by



In Defense of Animals, Brittany Michelson, [email protected], 928-420-0727
SPEAK, Gary Vella, 520-981-7416 (no text)

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in Marin, California, with over 250,000 supporters and a 40-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.

Tucson-based SPEAK (Supporting and Promoting Ethics for the Animal Kingdom) is proud to be Arizona's first animal rights organization. The organization addresses animal protection issues on every level: local, statewide, regional, national, and international. Speak’s mission to create a more cruelty-free world for animals involves a twofold approach: educational efforts coupled with active resistance to any form of animal abuse.



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