Debate rages over controversial rodeo events in Hayward

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There were some tense moments Thursday night at the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District. (KGO-TV)

There were some tense moments Thursday night at the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District. Some animal rights advocates demanded the board ban or change certain events at the upcoming rodeo this May.

The debate over specific rodeo events like "mutton busting," where children ride sheep, "wild cow milking," where a beef cow is forcefully taken down and then milked, and "goat tying," where baby goats are thrown to the ground and tied up -- up to five times during a single rodeo.

These issues were center stage during a special hearing at Hayward's Recreation and Park District.

"They're going to the slaughterhouse anyway, so we're going to abuse them, terrorize them for entertainment before we eat them," questioned Eric Mills of Action for Animals. "Jesus, what's the matter with us."

Action for Animals wanted the board to take major steps before May's annual Rowell Ranch Rodeo. But in the room, ranchers and rodeo supporters were the majority.

"My oldest turned four and is so excited to do mutton busting," said ranch owner Brooke Fagundes.

Vets also testified that some of these events are not only outdated but harmful to animals. "The videos of milking cows, mutton busting, and goat tying show intentional actions of physical pain and suffering," said Veterinarian Jim Reynolds.

In the end, the board voted four to one to continue to allow the controversial rodeo events.
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