the Calgary Stampede

the Calgary Stampede

July 10, 2011 00:05 ET

Renowned Animal Scientist Reviews Animal Care at Calgary Stampede

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - July 10, 2011) - Renowned animal scientist and animal welfare auditor Temple Grandin was in Calgary today to observe and comment on Calgary Stampede animal care practices, specifically regarding chuckwagon races and rodeo.

"The Stampede has done everything it can to prepare the track and change the rules," says Grandin. "Wagons are not smashing into each other and they are not hitting the rail. It is a genetic problem and it needs to be corrected."

"The Calgary Stampede has introduced a dozen major new rule changes regarding its animal care practices over the past year, many with the input of animal welfare organizations and veterinary advisors," says Doug Fraser, Stampede spokesman. "We've been recognized repeatedly for our progressive leadership on animal care so it was important for our organization to hear the opinion of such a respected expert as Temple Grandin."

Grandin implicated genetics as a key industry problem, suggesting the Calgary Stampede could lead the way in improving animal care.

"I think it's fine to race horses," states Grandin, "But we need to race horses that are physically sound. I'm interested in fixing things not getting rid of things, and I think the Calgary Stampede is in a position to change the industry."

In the past 10 years alone the Calgary Stampede has implemented over 40 enhancements to its animal care programs, most recently implementing an innovative horse microchip program, implanting a microchip in all the horses competing in chuckwagon races this year. The microchip allows veterinarians to carefully track and monitor performance days and rest days for over 500 horses competing in 90 heats, providing a tracking system for every horse receiving any kind of medical treatment or therapy.

"This digital tracking creates a very detailed database about the health of the animal," said Dr. Greg Evans, chief veterinarian for the Calgary Stampede. "We can track how many days they race, any treatment they received and look for opportunities to make refinements. This allows the Stampede to make future decisions based on solid scientific data."

The combination of continuous improvement, outside auditing and consultation has made the Calgary Stampede a leader in animal safety, a tradition that will continue going into our 100th year. Conversation about animal care is welcomed at the Calgary Stampede blog. Learn more from our animal welfare videos on YouTube.

About Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede is a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values. The Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through its world-renowned 10-day Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.

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