2010 and 2011

2010 and 2011

Posted on 1 Mar 2015

In 2010, when we were called Desert Paws, we participated in a vigorous protest of the Palm Springs rodeo, along with many concerned animal advocates. Despite our best efforts, the rodeo returned to Palm Springs in 2011. This time, patrons were confronted with our oversized video screen parked by the main entrance, on which we played video of the violent cruelty that is involved in rodeo. Below is our post from the Desert Paws website describing our protest and the outcome. As of January 2012 there is no indication that the rodeo will return!

Update on the Palm Springs Westfest (2011)

“A large mobile screen Desert Paws provided was set up near the main entrance of the rodeo. A video loop of rodeo cruelty played for all to see. Desert Paws members and other protestors took turns at the mic, narrating the gruesome footage and challenging patrons to reconsider their beliefs about the rodeo. So loud were the mobile speakers that we were clearly heard within the rodeo arena, providing a constant reminder to the customers.”

A victory for animals and those who care about them was scored last week when news of the financial trouble of the promoter, Chris Burkhart, of Spur of the Moment Productions, was published in the Desert Sun. Burkhart is considering bankruptcy and dozens of contractors and vendors did not get paid or lost money.

According to the Desert Sun, Burkhart “…cited a number of troubles, including high winds that closed local roads, a protest by animal rights activists, inadequate parking and the lack of support from the city of Palm Springs as contributing to the event’s failure.” “It was a poorly organized, unpleasant event,” said Tom Ackland, director of the Palm Springs USO. “It was the closest thing to a disaster as you can get.”

Tireless protestors from Desert Paws and other concerned animal advocates, with the added support of a huge video screen depicting the cruelty of rodeo for all to see, were active at the entrance of the event. Many patrons actually turned away and decided to do something other than support animal cruelty!

In an opinion piece, also in the Desert Sun, the author stated, “The event also needs to do more to appease animal activists, who do not protest every rodeo event out there, just those they deem as being cruel to animals.” We disagree. Desert Paws opposes any activity that utilizes and exploits animals for entertainment or profit. This includes all rodeos, and the use of animals in circuses, marine parks, and many zoos.

Here is a video we produced with footage from Animal Cruelty Investigations / SPCA. It was presented to the Palm Springs City Council in 2011 as a request not to financially support the event. The city did not waive any fees or provide monetary aid to the 2011 WestFest.

Protest Against the Palm Springs Hot Rodeo (2012)

A spunky group of animal lovers gathered to protest the 2012 Palm Springs Hot Rodeo, which was held in Banning, CA. The Palm Springs Hot Rodeo caters to the gay community and includes other social events. Organized by Advancing the Interests of Animals, the demonstrators stood with signs at the parking lot entrance, where they could interact with the patrons and distribute informational fliers.

The good news is many attendees left the event telling us they had now realized the cruelty of the rodeo. Update 2023: Unfortunately, the Palm Springs Hot Rodeo has continued and claims to be one of the top gay rodeo events in the US.

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