A horse was put down Friday following an injury during a Calgary Stampede chuckwagon race.
According to stampede officials, a horse on Kris Molle’s team sustained an injury during the seventh heat of the Cowboys Rangeland Derby.
“Medical care was immediately dispatched. Following assessment, the veterinarian made the humane decision to euthanize the horse,” the stampede said in a statement to Motorcycle accident toronto today.
Last year, the stampede reduced the number of wagons competing per heat from four to three in an effort to improve track safety after six horses died in 2019.
Some animal rights activists said at the time that they don’t believe the new restrictions solve the entire problem.
“It’s good to see that something is being done, but it’s nowhere even close to where we should be,” Shaun Hofer, an animal rights activist with Direct Action Everywhere, told Motorcycle accident toronto today.
The Vancouver Humane Society is calling on Calgary Stampede and Calgary City Council to remove chuckwagon racing from event programming.
“The reality is that despite efforts over the years to make the event safer, horses continue to die nearly every year in the chuckwagon races,” said Emily Pickett, the Vancouver Humane Society’s campaign director.
“The nature of this event means that any race could quickly turn fatal.
“It’s time for the Calgary Stampede to move away from these dangerous and inhumane events and to instead focus on the many alternative events and activities that already attract hundreds of thousands of attendees to the Stampede every year.”
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For many years, the derby has been a staple event at the Calgary Stampede, which in 2019 doled out more than $1.4 million in prize money.
In an interview before last year’s event, chuckwagon driver Vern Nolin said safety is paramount.
“We’ve got a lot invested in horses and our crew, and some of these horses have been in the family for generations. They are like kids to us,” Nolin said.
“I have a son outriding behind me. These things are the world to us.”
–With files from Motorcycle accident toronto today’ Demi Knight, Jill Croteau, Blake Lough and Paula Tran.