The romancing of Mexican rodeos in “Ride ‘Em, Charro” (by David James Rose, photographs by Thomas R. Dey, April 17) was incredibly irresponsible. One does not need to be an animal activist to object strenuously to the practice of tripping horses at full gallop for “sport.”
Horses break their necks, their limbs are literally torn from their sockets and those that do manage to get up are forced to re-enter the arena until they are fatally injured. The reason legislation forbidding these horrors is proceeding is because there are enough people who feel that the unnecessary cruelty and pain caused to these beautiful animals must end.
I am a fifth-grade teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District. Two-thirds of my students this year are of Mexican background. Only last week, in response to recent television coverage of the so-called “sport” of charreria, these youngsters wrote impassioned letters to protest the classification of these barbaric events as part of Mexican culture. They discussed the contests with their parents who, according to the children, do not consider them part of their culture, pronouncing them instead the lowest sort of cruelty to animals.
And here we have your magazine lauding the people who partake in these dreadful events, which you categorize as “an interplay of style and beauty.” As for this being a “tradition” and therefore worthy of being taught to a new generation: This is the United States of America, and although other cultures are part of what has built this nation, deliberate cruelty and torture of any sentient being are not an acceptable “tradition” in our world.
LEO M. LOBSENZ
My sister and I stable our horses in the Pico Rivera Equestrian Center, adjacent to the Pico Rivera Arena. We observe many charros in action. The use of pain and fear is rampant in the horse world, and nowhere is it more evident than in the charreada. The wild mares mentioned in the article are terrorized by the charros. No cowboy or charro working on a ranch would risk breaking horses’ legs and shoulders by roping them by the legs. And no “tradition” can justify such cruel and stupid behavior.
ROMAINE K. PREUSS
It was depressing to read of charreria so soon after your piece on bullfighting. This is 1994, and what were once thought of as expressions of man’s dominance over animals are now only the acts of cowardice.
As a result of their being roped and thrown violently to the ground, many of the horses used in charreria are crippled. Those same horses are used repeatedly throughout the charreada season, generally April through October. All will ultimately be sent to slaughter.
As a Latina, I say there are many things to be proud of about our culture, but this is plain cruelty. Ban horse tripping!
I’ve attended the charreada at Pico Rivera and at Riverside. However, I failed to appreciate the “equestrian ballet.” Instead, I witnessed frightened horses being driven at a run, then intentionally lassoed and tripped. I sat in horror as this “artistry” was performed on weanlings and yearlings.
I must take The Times to task, too, for the implication that the bill in Sacramento, which would prohibit the intentional tripping of a horse by the legs for entertainment or sport, is being carried forward by animal rights activists. In fact, the bill is being furthered by members of preeminent associations in the areas of law enforcement, equine veterinarian care and responsible horsemanship, who deem this practice to be inhumane.