By Edita Birnkrant

Friday, 9 January 2009, Madison Square Garden — On a bitter cold evening, the Professional Bull Riders began an opening night performance in New York City. Rodeo-style events are often billed as “family entertainment” but the spectacle known as bull riding involves numerous physical assaults on bulls, all designed to provoke the aggressive bucking that adds to the score as each rider stays atop the bull. Bucking straps, metal spurs, and other instruments of torment are routinely used in this false show of domination and control over bulls who are forced into this so-called sporting event.

Such a degrading event has no place in society. Outside the arena, for the second year in a row, Friends of Animals and supporters gathered in a show of dissent. We educated ticket-holders and passersby to the realities of bull riding with our rodeo and bull riding information flyers; we held posters that challenged the idea of a display of domination being called entertainment.

The dozens of supporters who braved the weather handed out hundreds of flyers and won the attention of every single person entering and passing by the arena.

Friends of Animals supporter Jason brought 2 ½ -year-old Shane to the protest, showing it’s never to early to educate children about justice and respect– the values we all stood for that night.

*The Village Voice covered our protest and will include our perspective in an upcoming feature article on the business of bull riding.*