Animal groups call for end of wrangling events at Royal Manitoba Winter Fair

A handful of animal welfare groups are once again calling for the end of a wrangling event for kids and youth at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon.

Both the Winnipeg and Brandon Humane Societies, along with the national Animal Justice group, are demanding the organization drop its calf scramble and sheep wrangling events, saying both are cruel to animals.

“These events in particular include very young prey animals, and they’re not desensitized to the stimulation of being in these noisy bright arenas filled with crowds,” said Brittany Semeniuk with the Winnipeg Humane Society.

“On top of that, they’re being chased grabbed and ridden by children and young adults, so it causes them to be in a very frenzied state, and it’s something that doesn’t need to take place in 2024.”

Semeniuk said if people looked at the event from an animal’s viewpoint, they would conclude that these events shouldn’t be taking place.

“Is this animal partaking in the event voluntarily or is this animal being forced to take part?” she said. “Does this event provide any sort of educational component, or is it purely for viewer entertainment? So once we start to look at these events, from the animal’s perspective, which we are seeing the public do more and more, we’re seeing more people speak out against these types of things.”

However, the head of the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba said the events are being mischaracterized.

General manager Mark Humphries said the events, which used to be called scrambles, have been renamed to reflect the fact there is no wrestling of the animals, or tying of limbs.

“The kids get to manipulate sheep, either into pens or to get them to do a bit of training and that’s what we do,” he said. “Every animal that’s on the farm ends up going into some penning during its life, to either be tracked, to be looked after, to be examined, to be gathered up for market, so the kids try and replicate that.”

Humphries added animal protection officers and the chief veterinary officer are on hand each year to ensure the well-being of animals.

“We asked them to be rigorous in their review,” he said. “They gave us feedback throughout the event, they gave us, obviously a debrief at the end. And I can quite happily tell you that we did not contravene any part of the Animal Care Act, and in fact that our standard operating procedures, and documents have been shared with other fairs. Because they’re an extremely good order.”

Both Humphries and the Humane Society said they haven’t actually spoken to each other, but are open to doing so.

The fair runs from March 25 to 30.

View original article here Source