Bucking Bulls and the Stampede: Fact vs. Fiction


A new study, conducted by Dr. Ed Pajor, Professor in Animal Behavior and Welfare at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine looks at the stress levels of bucking bulls and how animals are affected at the Calgary Stampede.

The study looked at 14 bulls, while they were being loaded and handled in the bucking chutes prior to a rodeo performance, over two years.

Pajor says that when he came to Calgary 6 years ago, he kept hearing about the things that were happening at the Stampede and how the animals are being treated.

When he heard many different opinions, he decided it was time someone did some scientific research so there were facts backing up the arguments.

The conclusion that Pajor came to was that the majority of the bulls did not show behavioral indicators of fear prior to the performance.

Pajor says he has personally seen change from the research.

“We’ve communicated with the Stampede the things that we’ve found, and they’ve done things where they’ve added things like a large tunnel area for the animals to walk to through when they are being loaded,” says Pajor adding, “this helps in terms of distracting the animals when there are a lot of people present. They’ve tried to decrease the amount of people who are actually in the loading area during loading times. They are doing an awful lot of things.”

Pajor says that the fear the bulls showed directly correlated with how much experience they had.

“They almost all have more experience here at the Stampede and show fewer fear behaviors than animals that have less experience. So that’s kinda what you might expect. An animal that doesn’t have as much experience may be a little more fearful when they are here than animals that do have experience.”

To see the complete study click here.