A horse was euthanized this week after sustaining a severe leg injury during a chuckwagon race at the annual Calgary Stampede, in Alberta, Canada.
The Calgary Stampede features rodeo-style competitions and livestock exhibitions, including the GMC Rangeland Derby chuckwagon race. The event pits teams, including wagon and outrider horses, against each other in a series of elimination races over several days.
On July 9, a Thoroughbred sustained a left hind cannon bone fracture during the fifth heat of the day’s chuckwagon race. An on-site veterinarian examined and euthanized the horse due to the severity of the injury.
No one from the Calgary Stampede was available for comment.
Peter Fricker, spokesman for the Vancouver Humane Society, said 60 horses have died from chuckwagon race-related injuries since 1986. In response to the latest death, the organization called for the Stampade to suspend the chuckwagon races.
"Nearly every year horses die in this race, which clearly puts them at undue risk of injury and death," Fricker said. "The Stampede has failed to stop horses dying and the public should let them know this is unacceptable."
In 2011 Calgary Stampede management announced new rules intended to improve safety for equine chuckwagon race participants, including veterinary inspections to determine if horses are fit to compete in the race. Those deemed unfit are scratched from the event, and those that do compete undergo post-race veterinary inspections. The rules state that no horse can run in the event more than three consecutive days, and all horses used in the chuckwagon races must rest at least one day in every four. Stampede records show that no horses died of chuckwagon race-ralated injuries in 2016.
The Calgary Stampede continues through July 16.