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Hyper-macho men chase, harass, and brutalize terrified victims. They do it simply for their own amusement, or because they are addicted to the rush of adrenaline it gives them. They give no thought to the suffering they cause because they see their victims — despite their shared ability to feel pain and fear — as some inferior “other” whose own desires and interests should be beneath the concerns of their tormenters.
If the victims were human, this would be called a hate crime. If they are calves, goats, horses and bulls, it is called a rodeo.
Of course, there are some very real differences between rodeo cowboys and the animals they abuse. Despite the emphasis your article placed on the fractures and muscle tears endured by some cowboys, the injury and mortality rate is far higher for the animals. Cowboys are not killed when they break a leg. Likewise, when it’s time for them to retire, cowboys are not shipped off to the slaughterhouse.
The next time Metro Weekly considers publishing an article that glorifies the rodeo (gay or straight), and the next time readers of the magazine consider attending, or worse yet, participating in one of these events, I hope you will try very hard to imagine what it must be like for the animals. If you need help, check out the look in the eye of the horse pictured on page twenty-four. How much pride is there in being the cause of that?
Richard De Angelis
College Park, Md.