It’s Time to Rein In Brutal Donkey Roping

It’s Time to Rein In Brutal Donkey Roping

Rodeos are not known for displaying compassion toward the animals forced to perform in them, and donkey roping is no exception. This cruel so-called sport is not as well known as steer or calf roping. This may be because it's not sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, so there may be less promotion for it. But it is reportedly becoming more popular in Texas and even spreading to other states.

Donkey roping involves shocking brutality. When the gate to the holding pen is opened, and the donkey, known for being obstinate due to a keen sense of self-preservation, doesn't make a run for it, a cowboy prods the donkey with a “hot shot” that shocks with 5,000 volts of electricity. The donkey then leaps in agonizing pain and dashes into the arena. 

That's just the beginning of the donkey’s torturous rodeo experience.  Two cowboys chase the frightened donkey, one throwing a rope around the neck, the other around the legs. This results in the donkey tumbling head over heels, often shattering bones or resulting in a broken neck. The ropes burn holes through the donkey's sensitive skin and can even crush the windpipe, causing suffocation.

After the donkey is successfully roped, and just when the poor creature might be thinking the ordeal is over, the cowboys stretch the tied-up donkey between two horses, causing excruciating pain. If the donkeys forced to endure all this manage to survive all the physical punishment, they often experience profound psychological damage that can last for years. They will hide and reject companionship which goes against their natural behavior of bonding with other donkey pasture mates. 

Donkeys deserve kindness and appreciation for their sterling traits and abilities. Their oversized ears can hear for miles and their unique braying, which donkeys have but horses and zebras lack, allow them to vocalize while both inhaling and exhaling. Yet, deserving though they are, there are few federal regulations to protect the welfare of donkeys or any rodeo animals. It is time for the government to step up and ban donkey roping. It is not sporting to inflict severe suffering on these innocent animals. 

You can help. If you hear about a donkey roping event, please contact us here.

In Defense of Animals is a strong voice for members of all species of animals suffering in rodeos. We educate the public with eye-catching billboards and have worked with legislators to successfully ban some of the cruelest rodeo events. In 2019, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors took the amazing step of banning mutton busting. There’s no better time to do the same for other rodeo events.

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