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PETA Urges Rodeo Boycott After Horse Deaths In Fort Worth

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - An animal rights group is calling for a boycott of rodeos after two horses died during bronc riding competitions in Fort Worth.

"It was very sad," said LeeAnn Nalls, a life-long rodeo and show participant.

Video shows each horse coming out of the gate and veering off to the right as it bucks. Both horses hit the wall head first, snapping their spines.

One of the incidents was captured on camera by Bruce Weidner, a rodeo fan from Benbrook.

"We all saw what happened," an announcer told the crowd after one of the horses collapsed onto the ground in a heap. "I just want everybody to take a minute. Take a breath."

"I've been going to rodeos since I was five" Nalls said. "And I turned 50 this year and I've only seen one horse die in an arena."

But just days later in the same arena, another horse hits in almost exactly the same place. He too died.

"It's extremely rare," said Matt Brockman, Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo spokesman "This is just one of those odd situations we find ourselves in."

The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo immediately came under fire from animal rights groups like PETA. The organization called the treatment of animals in rodeos inhumane.

It said in a statement, in part:

"It's 2017—a time when animal circuses are shutting down and SeaWorld is on the skids. Rodeos are way out of step with public opinion, and it's time for them to be relegated to the pages of history books. PETA encourages everyone to stay away from rodeos and to support legislation that protects animals from this abuse."

But the stock show said it follows nationally accepted guidelines for the treatment of animals and had veterinarians on the site around the clock.

"Injuries occur less than 5/100 of 1 percent," Brockman said. "So it's extremely rare.

"We adhere to more than 70 different rules that deal with animal welfare and animal care and handling. We take those rules very seriously we maintain a veterinarian on staff 24 seven through the 23 day run of our show. So I obviously animal welfare is something very important to us."

Stock show organizers said there is still a strong public demand for their product. They expect to draw well over a million visitors in 2017.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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