Reading Time: < 1 minute Animal advocates and vets have blasted mutton busting
Reading Time: < 1 minute

California’s Alameda County has been praised by animal advocates for passing an ordinance banning sheep riding.

Sheep riding, aka ‘mutton busting’, is a rodeo event, which sees children ride on sheep, who struggle to free themselves. 

The ban was passed following a hearing of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors earlier this week, during which the activity was condemned as cruel by veterinary experts and animal advocates.


Animal advocacy organization In Defense of Animals worked with Coalition for a More Humane Alameda County to support the ordinance. The groups called on their members and county residents to write to members of the board to pass the new rules.

While the organizations have commended the board in passing the ordinance, they say ‘some of the cruelest rodeo practices in the County still have yet to be addressed’, and have proposed an ordinance that would prohibit spurs and bucking straps, as well as tie-down calf roping.

‘Important first step’

“Alameda County’s sheep riding ban is an important first step,” Matthew Hamity, Director of Campaigns and Legislative Affairs for In Defense of Animals, who was present to give testimony at the meeting, said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.

“We will not rest until the cruelest rodeo practices are abolished. Tie-down calf roping, and the use of flank strap and spurs in horse bucking events, routinely cause serious injury and even death.”

“The tide is turning against exploitation and abuse of animals for entertainment,” added Marilyn Kroplick M.D., President of In Defense of Animals. “The shocking mistreatment of sheep, calves and horses in rodeo is every bit as harmful and significant as the cruelty inflicted on orcas at SeaWorld and elephants in circuses.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.