The Flying U Ranch is homes to one of the oldest “born to buck” breeding programs operating today. Since beginning in the late 1960’s Cotton’s breeding program has produced outstanding bareback horse, broncs and bulls. Long known for world-class bucking horses, in recent years the bull breeding program has become a focal point.
World-class bucking stock deserves world class-care, and the Flying U crew ensures our animal athletes receives upmost care and treatment. Flying U has raised bar on livestock care and has adopted many practices from renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Temple Grandin. Flying U Rodeo honors the PRCA’s commitment to proper care and treatment of animals.
PRCA’s Commitment to ProRodeo Livestock Care
For more than 60 years, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) has been formulating rules for the care and treatment of rodeo livestock. Today 60 rules govern all aspects of livestock care and handling at PRCA events, including the equipment used, the time allowed for competition and the condition of the facilities. These rules were born from a partnership with the competitors and stock contractors who own the animals and the desire to provide for those animals to ensure that only healthy, well-cared-for animals participate in PRCA rodeos. “The PRCA sets the standard for humane care of rodeo animal athletes,” said Dr. Jennifer Schleining, a Ames, IA, equine veterinarian, about the PRCA.
PRCA rules require a veterinarian to be on-site for all competition, which allows the PRCA to call on these experts to help report the condition of the livestock and be the basis for the animal welfare program. The on-site veterinarians are called upon periodically to participate in livestock surveys, which report detailed information on any livestock injury and condition of the livestock.
The results of these surveys continually show the rate of injury to rodeo livestock to be very low and the standards for care of the livestock at PRCA events very high. A recent survey, conducted at 148 PRCA rodeo performances and 55 sections of slack recorded 27 injuries occurring during 58,656 exposures. This calculates to an injury rate of .0004 or four-hundredths of one percent. Through the years, other studies have shown similar or lower rate of injury. The comments of the veterinarian at the PRCA rodeo in Pocatello, Idaho, mirrored those of the other vets participating, “Stock in very good condition. No stress to animals was evident.”
The PRCA has a livestock welfare coordinator who oversees the extensive animal welfare program that includes a 12-member Animal Welfare Committee and a livestock welfare field representative that attends rodeos. The Committee consists of large animal veterinarians, as well as rodeo committee, stock contractor and contestant representatives. Other animal welfare programs include training of rodeo veterinarians, outreach to other rodeo associations, communication with veterinary and livestock associations and public education.