Protests and Lawsuit Attempt To Stop San Diego Rodeo - Update

Posted in 2023 in

Update — Municipal codes do not bar the Padres from sponsoring a rodeo inside Petco Park, a judge has ruled, and the San Diego Rodeo went on as planned. On the first night, a horse was injured, a 6-year-old horse named Waco Kid who survived the incident.

“The basis of this Application is, as discussed above, a series of Municipal Code sections and not whether any animal cruelty laws have been or will be violated (though Plaintiffs and Defendants have filed several declarations which address the allegation of animal cruelty). The City Council has not passed legislation making rodeos illegal within Petco Park, within the surrounding ballpark district, or within the City as a whole.”

After the rodeo, San Diego City Councilman Kent Lee announced he will push for an ordinance banning rodeos in San Diego, citing animal cruelty.

Recent Op-Eds

San Diego Union-Tribune
  • Opinion: Padres-sponsored rodeo at Petco Park is pure animal cruelty. A boycott is in order.
    “I find it mind-boggling that Petco Park would be hosting a rodeo Friday to Sunday — hopefully the last. I am concerned that Petco Park, whose naming rights were purchased by people concerned with animal welfare, would condone/allow a rodeo, an activity condemned by nearly every animal welfare organization on Earth. How can the Padres baseball team — part owners of the stadium — think this is OK?….Rodeo has had its brutal day and now… belongs in the dustbin of history.”
  • Opinion: It is time to ban all rodeos. Start with the event at Petco Park hosted by the Padres.
    “Some say the city of San Diego is one of the most progressive cities in the country. Yet we have resorted to an antiquated form of entertainment that dates back hundreds of years to have a three-day rodeo event at Petco Park starting Friday that is hosted by the Padres. Why was a decision made to bring the rodeo to San Diego? Surely people know of the extreme violence to animals during the rodeo.”

    Who is opposing the rodeo?

    Animal rights advocates and San Diego local Democratic Party are leading the efforts, raising concerns about animal cruelty and the use of “torture devices” on animals.

    Who filed the lawsuit?

    Animal Protection and Rescue League, Inc., and Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) have filed a lawsuit against the San Diego Padres and C5 Rodeo Co. Their lawsuit aims to prevent the rodeo from taking place at the venue, citing existing city regulations that prohibit farm animals from being inside Petco Park and on nearby sidewalks and walkways.

    Bryan Pease, an attorney representing the plaintiffs (and the animals), expressed concerns about the treatment of animals at the rodeo, claiming that C5 Rodeo uses electric prods, shocking devices, bucking straps, sharpened spurs, and other tools on the animals. He emphasized that the city should not have allowed such an event at Petco Park in the first place, citing specific regulations in the municipal code governing the park.

    Read the complaint here.

    San Diego Padres Response

    In response to the concerns raised by animal advocates, the San Diego Padres issued a statement emphasizing their commitment to the safety and well-being of both contestants and livestock involved in the San Diego Rodeo. They have been assured by the event organizers that they are experts in animal care and will strictly enforce rules and regulations related to animal welfare.

    We have been assured by the group that is hosting this event that the safety, security and well-being of the contestants and livestock of the San Diego Rodeo are of the utmost importance. They are event professionals who are experts in livestock handling and care, as well as pre-event, event and post-event care for the contestants. Animal welfare is a major ongoing initiative of the professional sport of rodeo and the San Diego Rodeo, and the event hosts pledge to continue the strict enforcement of these rules and regulations.
    — San Diego Padres statement

    Summarize both sides of the debate

    Critics of the rodeo claim that the devices used to control animals, including electric prods, bucking straps, and sharpened spurs, constitute torture devices. They argue that rodeos are inherently cruel to the animals involved, causing them injuries such as broken ribs, backs, and legs, punctured lungs, and internal organ damage.

    The Padres, on the other hand, have highlighted the rodeo’s professional organizers and their extensive experience in livestock handling and care. While this will be the first rodeo at Petco Park, the team points out that annual rodeos are held in other San Diego County communities.


    PETA is organizing and asking for support in pressuring the Padres to cancel the rodeo. They issued a formal letter to organizers and are urging others to take action.

    About The Rodeo

    The San Diego Rodeo is scheduled to take place in January 2024.

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