Eric Mills, Coordinator, Action for Animals
Both the Livermore and Rowell Ranch rodeos feature a brutal, sometimes fatal and blatantly sexist event called the Wild Cow Milking Contest.
The cows are still lactating BEEF cattle, not dairy. As such, they are unused to being handled at all, much less this roughly. One of these frantic cows jumped the fence at the 2014 Rowell Ranch Rodeo, and suffered a broken neck and prolapsed eye. Another broke a leg at the 2004 Livermore rodeo. Both were euthanized, leaving orphaned calves. The Hayward Area Recreation & Park District (H.A.R.D.) boasts one of the more progressive rodeo policies in the country, though weakened in recent years. It states (in part): "The Animal Control Officer, the SPCA representative, and/or the veterinarian shall have complete and unilateral authority over the treatment and utilization of animals/livestock. Contest events … shall be limited to the following: bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, dally team roping, barrel racing and wild cow milking. Events such as steer dressing, pig and/or chicken scrambles, greased animal scrambles, cowboy teeter-totter, cowboy poker and mutton busting are strictly prohibited." The mutton busting ban was imposed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 2019. Either H.A.R.D. or the board should add the non-sanctioned, brutal, sometimes fatal, and blatantly sexist Wild Cow Milking contest to the prohibited list. This event is a regular feature at both the Rowell Ranch and Livermore rodeos. Let the powers-that-be hear from you!