375th rodeo will go ahead, despite protests: city

In spite of objections from animal rights activists and the Montreal SPCA, the city says it won't cancel the rodeo events planned as part of a Wild West-themed event to mark Montreal's 375th birthday.

The NomadFest Urban Rodeo is due to take place from Aug. 24-27 at the Old Port, and it's being billed as "the wild west in an urban setting", featuring country music and rodeo shows. On Thursday, Montreal's SPCA launched a petition and an information web site as a way to rally opposition against the rodeo portion of the event.

"Rodeos are an entertainment activity that has no cultural or historical connection to our city," says Alanna Devine, the SPCA's director of animal advocacy, "and more importantly, rodeos subject animals to fear, pain, and stress, and undue risk of injury or death — really, for an unnecessary purpose, which is so-called 'entertainment'". 

Anie Samson, the city's point woman on public security, reiterated the city's position on Thursday, suggesting they have the assurances they need from promoters that no undue harm would come to the animals, and that there would be a team of vets on site to ensure the animals' well-being.

In addition, Samson also suggests that horses also have an important historical connection with Montreal — noting that horse racing was once popular, and that calèches are still around in the city.