IDA and PETA Protest Oklahoma State Prison Rodeo

In Defense of Animals and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals both sent letters this month demanding a stop to the Oklahoma State Prison Rodeo.

For 64 years the prison rodeo has featured inmates at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary competing in the world’s only prison rodeo.

In a letter to Pittsburgh County Court Clerk Linda Price Williams, In Defense of Animals’ Kristie Phelps wrote,

I am writing on behalf of the 80,000 members of In Defense of Animals to urge you to end the Oklahoma State Prison Rodeo. We support measures by inmate Michael C. Washington to stop the Oklahoma State Prison Rodeo, but for different reasons altogether. Certainly no one would disagree that violent criminals should be prohibited from inflicting any sort of suffering. However by having inmates take part in a rodeo, the State of Oklahoma is encouraging it. The event gives inmates-40 percent of whom are imprisoned for violent crimes-the right to torment and abuse frightened animals in front of a cheering audience.

Experts, including Federal Bureau of Investigation profiler Robert K. Ressler, have proved that a high percentage of violent criminals have records of abusing animals. It is reckless to foster this violence, especially since many inmates will one day be released back into society.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Christy Griffin told the McAlester News Capital & Democrat that rather than using animals the Department of Corrections should create a weightlifting or basketball competition.

Despite the protests, the rodeo went on as scheduled over the Labor Day weekend.


Animal rights groups pounce on OSP rodeo. Doug Russell, McAlester News Capital & Democrat, August 28, 2004.

Prison rodeo protested. Carrie Coppernoll, The Oklahoman, September 5, 2004.

IDA Supports Inmate’s Request for Cancellation of Prison Rodeo. Press Release, In Defense of Animals, August 26, 2004.

PETA Wants University of South Carolina to Drop the 'Gamecocks' Name

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals recently sent a letter to University of South Carolina president John Palms asking him to drop the Gamecocks nickname from the university. USC’s football team is receiving a lot of national attention for its 5-1 record, and apparently PETA decided to try to piggyback on that publicity.

In its letter, PETA spokesman Kristie Phelps wrote that, “Like spousal abuse, bank robbery and driving while intoxicated, cockfighting is illegal in South Carolina.” She told The State that, “It’s a safe bet that officials at the University of South Carolina would never dream of calling their athletic teams the Dogfighters, the Wifebeaters, the Looters or the Road-Ragers.”

And what would PETA suggest as an alternative name? “The Gym Socks or the Pet Rocks or anything that doesn’t perpetuate animal cruelty. The Gamecocks can score points for kindness; they can be champions of compassion.”

A spokesman for USC responded by saying, “We can’t imagine there would be any interest by the Carolina community in changing the name of their mascot.”

PETA also sent a letter to Jacksonville State University in Alabama which also uses the Gamecock nickname. JSU president Bill Meehan told The State, “We have no plans to change at this time, and there is no movement in the student body to change.”


Animal rights group targets Gamecock. Jeff Wilkinson, The State (South Carolina), October 17, 2001.