In September 2022, California’s Alameda County Board of Supervisors agreed to prohibit a ranch rodeo event known as “wild cow milking”, where a team tries to get milk from a cow turned loose in an arena. In these cruel events, lactating cows are separated from their calves and chased in the arena before being roped, tackled into submission and forcibly milked. Wild cow milking took place annually in Castro Valley at the Rowell Ranch Rodeo during the third weekend in May.
The ordinance was brought forth by Alameda County Supervisors Richard Valle and Dave Brown. It was approved by the board but will need to be read again by the supervisors before it can go into effect 30 days after passing.
Almira Tanner, the lead organiser for DxE, said to DTN: “We thank the Board of Supervisors for banning the violent practice of wild cow milking and urge them to continue passing animal-friendly legislation, including the proposed bans on flank straps, spurs and tie-down roping. Using animals for entertainment without their consent is abuse. A growing majority of the public does not support animal cruelty, and we hope to see the rodeo go the way of the circus, where animals are no longer part of the show.” Erin Dobrzyn, a campaigner for In Defense of Animals, said before the Board meeting the following: “We continue to urge the Board of Supervisors to approve this important ordinance amendment for a second time. This ban would protect lactating mother cows, separated from their nursing babies, from being subjected to this distressing event.”
A proposed general ban on equipment used in rodeo events, including ropes, spurs and straps themselves was not approved this time. This is not the first rodeo ban in the county. In 2019 Alameda County banned mutton-busting events, where children throw themselves onto the backs of sheep and ride them.