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An animal-welfare advocate spoke at the Escondido City Council meeting on January 26 to lobby for the ban of Mexican rodeos, or charreadas. Melinda Santa Cruz, a longtime Escondido resident, told councilmembers she was encouraged to speak out on behalf of steers and horses by Eric Mills of the Oakland-based Action for Animals.

According to Santa Cruz, she resisted attending the meeting at first because she is “not much for getting up in front of people.” But Mills had said, “If you don’t, who will?” “He’s right,” Santa Cruz told the council. “Animals can’t speak for themselves. They aren’t allowed in city hall. They don’t vote. They can’t say, ‘It hurts when you rip off my tail; it hurts when you break my legs; I’m scared when you chase me.”’

Santa Cruz said she was present on January 12, when members of the Asociación de Charros de Escondido asked the council not to evict them from a site where rodeos have been held for 39 years. They claimed the tradition has been passed down from one generation to the next and that they made many contributions to the community, which justified the organization's payment of $1 per year to lease the city-owned property.

“I ask you,” said Santa Cruz, “who needs a tradition that sends innocent animals to the slaughterhouse? And for a dollar per year? I hope we are better people than that.” A representative for the city clerk said the matter of finding a new home for the group will be on the meeting agenda in early March.

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ericmills Jan. 28, 2011 @ 7:05 p.m.

Melinda Santa Cruz is my hero! Excellent testimony before the Escondido City Council, and I would encourage others to do likewise.

Be aware that charreadas (Mexican-style rodeos) have nine standard scored events, three of which involve lassoing the legs of running horses (either front or rear legs).

In another, "steer tailing" (aka "colas," or "coleadero"), a mounted charro (cowboy) grabs the tail of a running steer from horseback, wraps the tail around his leg and stirrup, then rides his horse off at an angle, either dragging or slamming the steer to the ground. Bruises and contusions are routine. Tails may be broken, even stripped off ("degloved"), and horses may suffer broken legs when the steers run the wrong way. Some "sport"!

If the Escondido charro arena does find a new home, at the VERY LEAST these four events should be banned.

I'm a big fan of cultural diversity, but not when cruelty to animals is involved. This nonsense must stop, and state and local legislation is in order. Simple tradition justifies nothing. Even Cesar Chavez opposed this abuse. (I have his 1990 letter for anyone desiring a copy.)



Eric Mills, coordinator ACTION FOR ANIMALS Oakland email- [email protected]


RandyJanssen Jan. 30, 2011 @ 6:55 p.m.

Watch these videos. The fact is very few animals are seriously injured in Charreada and the benefits of charreada outweigh the dangers.


ericmills Jan. 30, 2011 @ 11 p.m.

Readers should be aware that Randy Janssen (above) is a charreada promoter and horse tripper himself, from San Antonio, Texas. And a lawyer, if you can believe it.

Mindy is right, of course. The mere fact that the animals are fearful and stressed out should be enough for them not to be abused in this fashion.

Mr. Janssen hosts a website: www.legalizehorsetripping.com. (I'm not making this up!) Well worth a look.

As for the two videos he promotes, it's quite easy to cherry-pick and make everything look rosy. The same could be done for any "sporting" event. I received an e-mail from Mr. Janssen last year making mock of the 11 steers injured at the Jefferson Co. Fairgrounds near Denver (broken pelvis and broken leg--both euthanized; 7 others with their tails stripped off). As Mr. Janssen wrote to me, "So what? The fun the charros had, and the time spent training their horses made it all worth while. And it keeps kids out of gangs and away from drugs." (I'm not making THIS up either.) So much for compassion.

Nor does Mr. Janssen believe that animals (other than the human kind) have emotions, flying in the face of overwhelming scientific documentation to the contrary.

At least the PRCA requires veterinarians on-site to care for injured animals. The professional charro associations do not. Their rules also allow a steer to be "tailed" three times a day, whereas in American rodeo (which has its own share of problems), the animals can be used only once per day. (And "anything goes" at the nonsanctioned events.)

Again, neither horse tripping (3 events) nor steer tailing is a standard ranching practice anywhere in the U.S., nor are they sanctioned by any American-style rodeo association. These four events should be banned nationwide (and soon will be, methinks). Even Cesar Chavez would agree.

Cheers, Eric Mills, coordinator ACTION FOR ANIMALS


RandyJanssen Jan. 31, 2011 @ 4:37 a.m.

The problem with the animal rights fanatics like Eric Mills is that he wants to treat animals better then people. According to Mills friend, Steve Hindi, he is spending Bob Barkers millions to by spy toys to protect pigeons. Think about how many starving children could be helped with that money. Think of what St, Jude could do with it. As far as cherry picking, for years, we have offered Mills and the other right fanatics the charro challenge. Lets do a scientific study of charreada, rodeo, steeple chase, cross country the racing. Lets see if there are repeated serious injuries. For years, they refuse. That is because they know what they are saying is just not true. Now watch this video about what Mills calls horse tripping


Duhbya Jan. 31, 2011 @ 5:57 a.m.

"6.The problem with the animal rights fanatics like Eric Mills is that he wants to treat animals better then(sic)people. According to Mills(sic)friend, Steve Hindi, he is spending Bob Barkers (sic) millions to by (sic) spy toys to protect pigeons. Think about how many starving children could be helped with that money. Think of what St,(sic) Jude could do with it. As far as cherry picking, for years, we have offered Mills and the other right (?) fanatics the charro challenge (Taco Bell plug?). Lets (sic) do a scientific study of charreada, rodeo, steeple chase, cross country the racing (huh?). Lets (sic) see if there are repeated serious injuries. For years, they refuse. That is because they know what they are saying is just not true. Now watch this video about what Mills calls horse tripping"

This guy's a lawyer? Oh, the horror.


Russ Lewis Jan. 31, 2011 @ 9:02 a.m.

You should know by the kindness of uh dog the way uh human should be.

--Capt. Beefheart


RandyJanssen Jan. 31, 2011 @ 9:30 a.m.

To Mindy:You say I don’t have humanity, just because I am not taken in by Eric Mills and Steve Hindi’s dribble. Hindi is the one who puts up the rodiocruelty videos. Neither Hendi or Mills has ever owned or taken care of livestock. I’ve been around horses and cattle most of my life. Yet they have the arrogance to tell me and many others how to take care of animals. As far as charreada, exactly how many animals can you prove were seriously injured in any event. Do you have any pictures or videos, Mills just has rhetoric. Hindi has two videos. The first is of a horse being captured a couple of times in mangana. He repeats these captures over and over, sometimes in slow motion. If you know animals, you can see the horse is not hurt. Youtube says the video has been up for two years. So you know that Hindi’s little command has been going to charreadas for that time. There are fifteen Federated Teams and more independat teams. The Federated teams do at least 100 charreadas a year. That is 200 in two years. In each charreada there are 27 colas. That is 5400 with just the Federated teams. In all that time, the so called animal protectors have found one steer, which they mistakenly call a bull, with what is most likely a broken leg. Now, do these protectors call a vet, no they get a deputy sheriif to shoot it. The fact is, these so called animal protectors, take the very few instances of animals being seriously injured in rodeo and charreada and make it appear if it is the norm. According to CNN, 50,000, children a year are hospitalized with injuries from high school football. If you search the web, you can find between 5 and 10 killed, each year. No-body wants to stop high school football. That is because the benefits outweigh the dangers. The same is true of rodeo and charreada. If you see a young person wearing the traje of a charro or charra, you know they are not involved in drive-by shootings or drugs. You know they are with their family and their animals. Yes, there is a small danger to animals, but the family values that are promoted in Charreada and Rodeo, are worth it.


ericmills Jan. 31, 2011 @ 6:28 p.m.

Just "rhetoric," Mr. Janssen?

Hardly. I've seen charreada, as you know. Here in Alameda County, CA in the 1990's I saw the horses in the "horse tripping" event doing sommersaults, crashing into the arena's walls, defecating and urinating in fear. One even screamed. One needn't be a livestock professional to condemn this brutality.

Nor should you forget the 11 seriously-injured steers in the "coleadero" at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds (Denver) last August: broken pelvis, broken leg (both destroyed), plus 7 steers whose tails had been "degloved" (stripped to the bone). But, hey! That's O.K., you wrote to me, because the charros were "having fun." The mind boggles.

And how about the 4-part series, "Renegade Rodeos," on KABL TV in Los Angeles back in 1993? Reporter Christine Lund documented numerous injuries in that series, including three horses who suffered broken legs in the steer tailing event when the steers ran the wrong way.

Get thee to a therapist, Mr. Janssen. You're a sick man if you think this mistreatment of animals is acceptable. Even Cesar Chavez was opposed. Both horse tripping ("manganas" and "piales"), as well as the even more brutal steer tailing event, should be banned nationwide. And will be, methinks.

Cheers, Eric Mills, coordinator ACTION FOR ANIMALS


RandyJanssen Feb. 1, 2011 @ 8:20 a.m.

Yes Mr. Mills, you have nothing but rhetoric. I have put 72 videos of mangana on youtube and I have over 300 videos of mangana on my web page. None of what you described happened on any of those video. No urinating no defecating, no slamming into walls, not even one screaming horse. As far as what you claim happened in Colorado, where is your proof. Do you know how hard it is to diagnose a broken pelvis in a bovine. You always claim broken horses, broken steer, where is the proof. Even if it is true, then under your theory, we should stop baseball when a coach is killed by a line drive and football, where tens of thousands of serious injuries occur every year. The fact is very few animals as seriously injured in rodeo and charreada. I think I have shown that in mangana, I will start posting videos of cola, next. Now, Miss Melinda, if we follow your logic, about choice, we will need to have releases signed by steers at the chutes in every slaughterhouse and KFC, will have to have a contract to fry with the chickens. If I sound facetious, I am. What both of you are saying is silly to anyone who is logical. It is like Mr. Mills claiming that scientific studies prove that animals have emotions like people. That is not true. What he has, is someone claiming to be a scientist, saying he observed animals acting as if they have emotions, therefore they have emotions. No real scientist would publish something like that. There is no mention of control groups, no scientific analysts. Just more silliness. By the way, Miss Melinda, don't hold Hindi or Mills out as heroes, because they don't make money. Both of them have 501c3 corporations and they both get donations. Why don't you ask Mr. Mills and Mr. Hindi, what thy do with their money. I have, I have even asked about the animals they take care of. They will not answer. Don't you believe there is no money in animal rights work. Finally, if your children had been involved in Charreria, maybe they would have an understanding heritage and traditions. You probably would have had an easier time raising your children, since you would have been with people who believe in family and men who accept the responsibility of being fathers. You probably are thinking, that you could not be involved in animal abuse, well, why is it abuse, if very, very few animals are seriously injured. These animals are better off, then a high school football player on a Saturday night.


ericmills Feb. 1, 2011 @ 3:16 p.m.

Randy, as your fellow Texan Jim Hightower noted, "If you get any dumber, we're gonna have to water you twice a week1" (Said about KY Senator Mitch McConnell, but if the shoe fits....and it does.)

FYI, there are scads of scientific studies out there documenting the emotions of nonhuman animals. Look 'em up! Surely you don't think humans are the only animal to have emotions. Do you?

Also, please get your facts straight before mouthing off. ACTION FOR ANIMALS is NOT incorporated, never was. It's mostly just me, doing what I can to help animals. The bulk of my "funding" comes from my monthly Social Security check.

And if you're so bent on doing a "study" to see if horse tripping and steer tailing are harmful to the animals (duh), fund the damned thing yourself, tightwad! Why in the world would you dare to presume that Steve Hindi, I, or anyone else with half a brain would be interested in underwriting such a stupid study with such an obvious outcome?

Put your money where your big and ignorant mouth is, Randy. And maybe check with a REAL lawyer before you sue the State of Nebraska for "discrimination." Good luck on that one!



RandyJanssen Feb. 2, 2011 @ 8:52 a.m.

To Mr. Mills; nobody survives on a social security check, especially in California. So don’t give me that B.S., you have other sources of income. Hindi gets millions by his own admission. How many horses or steers does he take care of? Actually, I hope neither of you take care of any horse or steer, since neither of you know anything about them. As far as scientific studies about animals having emotions, if you remember, you have sent me a number of them. You stopped when I kept pointing out they all said the same thing. The so-called scientist say they saw an animal acting like it had emotions, therefore they have emotions. Well, every time I go onto my property, I have horses and dogs run up to me. The dogs tails are wagging and the horses are licking their lips. Does that mean they love me! No, it means they know, by repeated occurrence, or by Pavlovian Response, that I am the one who feeds them. I understand this by the fact that I have owned livestock most of my life and I am around them everyday. You and Miss Mindy are not. So how do you two and Steve Hindi, get off, telling me and so many others who actually take care of livestock, what to do! As far as paying for the study, I would think that you would be champing at the bit (that is the thing you control a horse with) to be part of a study, if you thought what you were saying was true. The problem is, you know what you are saying is not true, starting with your description of mangana. The animal rights movement is based on deception, like Cathline Doyles’ so called study. Her facts were true, but her conclusion was just absolutely false. So, continue to peddle your lies, I will continue to tell the truth, backed up with evidence. In the long run, the American Public, will realize that you so called animal protectors are full of hot air. By the way Miss Mindy; I don’t get paid. I have abhorred discrimination, since one of my friends explained why one of my neighbors had numbers tattooed on her arm. Now I abhorrer, the fact that my children and grand children culture is called cruel and barbaric by ignorant people.


MsGrant Feb. 2, 2011 @ 9:57 a.m.

"I have abhorred discrimination, since one of my friends explained why one of my neighbors had numbers tattooed on her arm." It took that? What bubble do you live in, Randy, that you would be unaware of the significance of those numbers?

Anyone who makes money off of the spectator sports that use animals will always resort to the "animals have no emotions therefore they do not feel pain" argument. Enlightened people with even a modicum of intelligence know better. To condone cruelty to animals in the name of "culture" is ignorant. At one time it was the "culture" to enslave human beings and whip them. We know better now. It's called progress.


RandyJanssen Feb. 3, 2011 @ 10:32 a.m.

To MsGarnt, it is funny, that you would accuse me of being in a bubble. You see, what I described happened when I was seven. I remember it like it was yesterday, like I remember standing in the basement of my high school waiting for the Russian transports to cross the quarantine line. I remember a man breathing his last breath on my cheek when I was in the Army, or what it was like to take a man in full rigger out of an attic, after he had been stuffed up there, by other inmates when I was a correctional officer. I remember too many things to try to set forth here, after 32 years of practicing law. Now you say “ people with a modicum of intelligence” know animals or specifically horses have emotions. Well, intelligent people know that humans have emotions and animals have instincts and responses. Think of the consequences of animals having human emotions. If it is true, then we should not eat them, because of the suffering we would be inflicting on them. Now if people don't eat meat, then we will have to completely restructure our whole economy. The problem with people with a “modicum of intelligence” is that they seldom think beyond their immediate emotions. Now I will ask you and Miss. Mindy, how many horses or cattle do you own. Have you ever taken care of them a a regular basis. Do you have any evidence of charreada, causing serious injuries to animals. If you have never owned livestock and never taken care of livestock, and you have no real evidence of charreada causing serious injuries to animals, then, who do you think you are, telling me and thousands of others who know, what to do.


SurfPuppy619 Feb. 3, 2011 @ 11:18 a.m.

You can tell the value of a person and a society by the way they treat those who cannot help them, and how they treat defenseless animals.


MsGrant Feb. 3, 2011 @ 1:31 p.m.

We owned horses when I was young. One of our horses was an old mare named Pic-Streak. She had a white stripe down her nose. My step-dad bought her for my mom. She had scars on her hide - the auction people who sold her explained that the cowboys that kept her used to get drunk and whip her. She was very frightened at first, but we kids showered so much love on her that she became very docile and would let us hang all over her. So, yes, I have some experience with horses. All totaled, we had seven horses. I assisted with the birth of one filly and one colt at the age of 10. We kids were responsible for watering and feeding the horses, brushing them, and cleaning their stalls. Also, we would go with my step-dad to purchase their hay, and would help pitch them into his truck and then load them in the barn. We could ride the Western horses only after our chores were done. My mother and step-dad divorced when I was 12, and the horses were sold as part of the divorce settlement. It was horrible for us. Anyway, I don't want to fight with you. I do not condone animal abuse in any way, shape or form, and I believe what you do inflicts suffering. If you are profiting from it, it raises it to a criminal level. Your concern is financial. You do not care about the animals. There are those of us that feel a bond with animals and understand that we have to be the voice for them, otherwise people like you will continue to exploit them and harm them in the name of sport.


RandyJanssen Feb. 4, 2011 @ 9:29 a.m.

To Miss Mindy: Specifically, what have I said that is wrong? Also, if your waiting for animals to talk, you have a long wait, or maybe, you do have conversations with them? If you are having conversations with animals and they are answering you, you might consider getting some help.


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