LA City Council moves forward with proposal to ban rodeos within city limits, with exceptions

The Los Angeles City Council called for the drafting of an ordinance Tuesday that would ban rodeos in city limits over concerns the events are inherently cruel to animals. But the council also indicated it wants to carve out exemptions for certain cultural and traditional activities.

It’s a compromise between those like Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, who wanted an all-out ban, and Councilmember Monica Rodriguez, who wanted protections carved out for cultural and traditional equestrian events, like Charrerias. 

The proposal ignited a response from groups around the city, including Mexican rodeo supporters, the African American Compton Riders, the Bull Riders Association and even backyard horse owners from the San Fernando Valley who said the legislation is unnecessary.

Rodriguez says the city can’t approve a blanket ban on rodeos, fearing it could be "weaponized and directly impact communities of color."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Final Yee-haw? Rodeos could be banned in LA under this new ordinance

On the other side is a wide coalition of animal rights activists, including SPCA LA, Last Chance for Animals, several actor and even PETA Latino, who says that culture and heritage should not be used as excuses to abuse animals. 

"If we managed to get animal circuses banned, we will be able to do the same with rodeos, it’s just a matter of time," said SPCA LA'sMadeline Bernstein.

Professional Bull Riders Inc’s Sean Gleason, said that there are plenty of laws protecting animals. Gleason argues that a lot of what happens in rodeos, like the controversial calf roping, are practices still used in ranches today, usually to capture animals and medicate them. He added that horse tripping is already illegal, but not condoned by Rodeo organizations, and should be stopped by animal control officers. 

A City Council Committee already passed a ban ordinance in December of 2021 that would have prohibited "the use of electric prods, shocking devices, flank or bucking straps, wire tie-downs and sharpened or fixed spurs at all rodeo or rodeo-related events" in LA. But the full council did not get vote on that ordinance. 

Now, the bill goes back to a committee, to find a way to protect both the animals and human traditions.