A California county has voted to outlaw a controversial brutal rodeo event involving tackling and forcibly milking cows.
Supervisors in Alameda County, in San Francisco’s East Bay, voted unanimously last week to ban the event following hours of angry comments from the public and veterinarians — as well as input from cowpokes and fans who supported continuing the event.
In “wild cow milking” a cow is separated from her calf, let loose in an arena, and lassoed and wrestled into submission by a team of cowboys so that one of them can forcibly milk her.
Animal rights activists have long condemned the event as “one of the most offensive” in rodeos.
“Not only is this ridiculous and extremely abusive, but it’s also dangerous and can prove deadly” when injured cows must be put down, In Defense of Animals said in a statement.
Though the supervisors voted to ban the event, they refused to bar the use of spurs and bucking straps that provoke bulls into bucking — which animal rights advocates had also demanded.
A representative of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which does not formally sanction wild cow milking events, said the organization was pleased with both votes.
Erin Dobrzyn, a campaigner for In Defense of Animals, hailed the vote to ban wild cow milking, which she said in a statement would “protect lactating mother cows, separated from their nursing babies, from being subjected to this distressing event.”
County Supervisor Richard Valle, who pushed for the milking ban, said at the meeting Tuesday: “Animals, they don’t step up to the podium. They don’t get a chance to speak. Who speaks for them?”
Though the ban was approved by the board, it must still be read again by the supervisors before it can go into effect 30 days from passage. The next reading is expected to take place in October.