The LA City Council supports a ban on rodeos, with exceptions

(Dakota Smith/Los Angeles Times)

The LA City Council supports a ban on rodeos, with exceptions

Animals and Pets, Homepage News, LA Politics

Susan Rust
Dakota Smith

Dec. 5, 2023

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban rodeos in the city, despite opposition from some in LA’s Latino equestrian community, who portrayed the crackdown as an attack on their culture.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who represents the western San Fernando Valley, led the council in passing the ban, describing in graphic detail the broken bones and pain rodeo animals endured.

The vote, 14 to 0


With Councilmember Nithya Raman absent, he asks the city attorney’s office to draft an ordinance banning rodeos in the city.

Just before the vote, Blumenfield introduced an amendment co-sponsored by the measure’s most public opponent, Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who represents the East Valley.

The amendment sought to address concerns that the ban would prevent cultural events such as charrera, which is popular in Mexico, as well as the Bill Pickett rodeo, a national event for black riders that will take place in the City of Industry in February.

Exceptions were made for equestrian and cultural events, including charrera, as long as participants did not participate in events involving bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, team roping or ‘other events or activities where you physically take down an animal, tie up an animal or attempt to ride a bucking animal.”

Rodriguez appeared at a rally opposing the ban just before the council meeting, where dozens of rodeo enthusiasts, some on horseback, some dressed in traditional rodeo attire, trotted down Main Street.

At a press conference before the vote, Rodriguez said the proposed ordinance would be far more inclusive and impactful for communities of color and cultural practices that have long been cherished here.

More than a hundred people registered to speak in the council chamber before the vote, many wearing cowboy hats and boots.

Jane Velez-Mitchell, a resident of Los Angeles, expressed outrage that caring for animals conflicted with cultural sensitivity.

“I was shocked, attacked and just plain stunned that pro-rodeo forces are trying to turn this into a cultural issue. As a proud Latina, I can tell you that I know torture is not entertainment,” she said during the public comment period. .

A caller who did not identify himself begged the municipality in a trembling voice to oppose the ban.

“I’m a proud Angeleno. I was born and raised here. My father rode bulls here, my uncle rode


There are bulls here, and those animals are not abused,” he said. “As an African American born and raised in the city of Los Angeles, please do not ban rodeo.”

A rodeo ban

The law

was first proposed by Blumenfield in 2021.

These animals are not part of a show, their torture is the show, Blumenfield said in an interview Monday. People are entertained by watching animals writhe in pain as a lateral band is wrapped tightly around their abdomen, he said.

Other jurisdictions in the state and country have set limits


at or banned rodeos, including San Francisco, San Juan Capistrano and Pasadena, as well as Pittsburgh; Baltimore County, Maryland; Leesburg, Virginia; and Fort Wayne, Ind.

California law already regulates and requires rodeos

the presence of

a vet




close by and on call. Injury reports are required


be sent to the state veterinary medical board.

A 2022 Times review by th


Reports show that since 2001


one state one the

law came into effect

whereby a veterinarian must be present or on call for all rodeos

more than 125 animal injuries were reported. The reports are written by attending or on-duty veterinarians and submitted to the California Veterinary Medical Board.

The reports documented injuries ranged from

minor diseases such as the

superficial abrasions were suffered as the panicked animals rushed from their parachutes, resulting in crushed skulls, broken legs, punctured flanks and broken spines.

Experts, activists and files


by vets at events say these numbers are probably conservative and under

represent the extent of injuries that occur in rodeos.

There are approximately 40 professional Rodeo Cowboys Assn. events annually across the state. That number does not include the Professional Bull Riders events or the scores of more informal community rodeos and charreras, which take place almost daily throughout the summer. According to figures from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Assn. there were 13,311 exposures to animals (animals in the arena during competitions with a potential for injury) and 18 reported injuries at rodeos in California, an injury rate of 0.0013 or 0.13%.

In response to concerns about a ban

would be

akin to an attack on Latino culture, Blumenfield said: This isn’t about culture. This is about animal cruelty.”

There are black rodeos. There are Latino rodeos. There are gay rodeos…no one is trying to emulate a culture. We are saying that animal cruelty is something we should not support in 2023, he said.

Opponents said they would try to change the law if it goes to the City Council for a final vote.

Geronimo Bugarin, an experienced rider, said there are nine elements of charrera, including bull riding and mare riding.


and calf roping, and seemed dismayed at the prospect of not being able to continue these activities.

“If we lose one of our most important elements of charrera, it’s like not having charrera,” Bugarin said.


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