I can appreciate the talent involved just as I can appreciate the aesthetic aspects of a bullfight. But I condemn both all the same, finding them reprehensible and truly uncivilized. There are far more productive and humane venues to showcase that skill--ones that don't involve animal abuse.
Yes, Cowchick, there's a bunch of horse tripping going on. Not the straight line hind leg runs, but the ones where they stand on foot and twirl their ropes as a bunch of horsemen run a horse past, then rope it and jerk it to the ground. On most of the clips they don't show the falling part, but it's depicted a few times, and the intention to throw the horse is obvious, too.
Steer tailing, I would imagine, is quite a bit more harmful than steer wresting. The cattle are thrown to the ground much harder, and I imagine that broken tails and legs are commonplace. Same with the horse tripping. But that said, yes, I find tie-down calf roping and to a lesser extent bulldogging and team roping (as practiced in American rodeo) to also be cruel and unnecessary.
The "tradition" excuse is a bunch of bullcrap that can be used to justify anything, from dogfighting to bear baiting to human sacrifice to slavery. Terrible, nonsensical, idiotic argument.
As I've said before.... Is anyone else tired of people calling rodeo abuse?