Why Activist Alfredo Kubra Gets Butterflies

Knight Ridder recently reported on a protest by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Action for Animals, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States against California Rodeo Salinas.

The story included only one quote from an activist at the event, one Alfredo Kuba who had this to say of participating in an animal rights protest,

I always get butterflies before I do something like this. Any time you express opinions that are different from the status quo, you have a little bit of fear. You can’t help but be concerned how people might react.

Kuba’s “nervous little activist” routine seems a bit thin given the things he’s said over the years. Kuba has been active in the California animal rights scene for more than a decade, and shows up in dozens of articles on Google and Lexis-Nexis.

What sort of things does Kuba believe that are different from the status quo? In a December 31, 2004 letter to the editor of the Mountain View (California) Voice, Kuba offered his views of hunting,

. . . Hunters are animal terrorists. Hunters make absurd claims of why murdering other beings is their “right” as if animals have no right to exist.

Hunting is a human wrong, just like slavery or the concentration camps. In the slavery era, whites felt they had the right to have slaves and slaves had no rights. In Nazi Germany, white supremacists believed they were the superior race under “God” thus rationalizing the extermination of Jews and other races “inferior” to them.

Hunters likewise rationalize to persecute, stalk, terrorize, maim and murder other living beings under the guise of superiority and difference of species. Hunters invade other species’ homes with the sole purpose of ending their existence.

Hunting is cold-blooded murder. Who made hunters God and gave them the power to decide who lives and who dies? The sickening aspect of hunters is that they find pleasure in the destruction of “God’s creation.”

Kuba despises hunting enough that he forces a vegan diet on his feline companion — and Kuba’s own dietary choices might hint at another explanation for those “butterflies.” In a 2004 AlterNet story on vegan pet diets, Kuba was quoted as saying (emphasis added),

You’re saving animals by not feeding your cat meat. It makes you feel good to feed your kitty something this good. Sometimes I even try some myself when I’m cooking.

Kuba’s not so concerned about the possibility of other cats having meat-oriented snacks. In May 2004, a mountain lion was spotted near Palo Alto, California. The lion was sleeping in a tree about 20 feet above a police car. Police initially planned to tranquilize the animal, but it woke up first, and the decision was made to kill the animal. Police said that since the timing of the incident made killing the animal necessary,

Because of the environment that it was in, school is about to be let out, the only safe thing to do to protect the community was to dispatch the animal. One shot was fired, the animal was felled.

Kuba disagreed, telling CBS5,

I think it’s absolutely atrocious the way the police behaved. Obviously the animal was not posing a threat to anyone. It was in a tree.

Kuba is also an expert on circuses. At a 2003 protest against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Kuba told the San Mateo Daily Journal that,

Daily beatings are a part of everyday life for animals in circuses.

Kuba recently started petition to ask KPFA 94.1FM to add an animal rights-themed show to its lineup. The petition reads,

Please sign petition asking KPFA 94.1FM to include an animal rights program on a regular basis. Animal rights is a topic of interest, often demoniced [sic] by the corporate propagandist media and not given a voice. Animals are voiceless and KPFA can provide that much desperately needed voice.

Surely purely by coincidence Kuba would host this new animal rights show on KPFA.

Those must be some strange butterflies.


Rodeo draws animal rights protesters. Dennis Taylor, Knight Ridder, July 26, 2005.

Hunters destroy ‘God’s creation’. Alfredo Kuba, Letter to the Editor, Mountain Valley Voice, December 31, 2004.

Mountain lion killed in Palo Alto. Len Ramirez, CBS 5, May 17, 2004.

Circus defends animal treatment. San Mateo Daily Journal, August 28, 2003.

Animal Rights Radio. Petition, 2005.

The Cat That Ate Tofu. Michael Rosen-Molina, Alternet, May 23, 2004.

PETA's Latest Anti-Rodeo Ad

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader Bonnie-Jill Laflin to the Museum of Sex (I’m not making this up) in New York City to showcase the animal rights groups latest anti-rodeo poster,

Dan Mathews summed up PETA’s approach, telling The New York Daily News, “We like to keep the ‘T’ and ‘A’ in PETA.” And not much else, apparently.

Laflin told the New York Daily News, emphasis added,

I don’t want to be crude, but basically they stick electric prods up their [butts], and put straps down in their sensitive areas, poking them and everything to make them buck. If you got a spur jabbed into your side, you’re probably gonna move a little, too.

Oh yeah, after seeing that poster it’d be really difficult to consider Laflin being crude.

Sheila Lehrke of the International Professional Rodeo Association gave the proper response to PETA’s silly antics, saying,

I really have a hard time making a comment on the kind of campaigns PETA runs. They’re so contrived for response and so far off base from what we’re really talking about.


Nudie in a haystack. Lloyd Grove, New York Daily News, September 21, 2004.

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 Protests Oklahoma Prison Rodeo

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Dan Shannon sent a letter to Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry in August asking the governor to abolish the state’s long-running prison rodeo.

The prison rodeo has been held in Oklahoma for the past 63 years and features inmates engaging in a number of event such as bull riding and cow milking.

According to Shannon, the prison rodeo encourages inmates to abuse animals,

A prison is the last place in the world that should be encouraging violence. It is time to put cruel events like rodeos out to pasture.

A communications director for the governor replied that PETA’s request was “silly” and that, “The governor will not consider stopping this Oklahoma tradition.”


Request To Stop Oklahoma Prison Rodeo Called “Silly”. Associated Press, August 22, 2003.

Rodeo Exonerated in Case Based on SHARK Videotape

The Whittier Daily reported recently that a California Court Commissioner exonerated the a rodeo that had been accused of cruelty charges based on video taken by Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK).

Shark took the video at a San Dimas Rodeo in October 2002 and turned it over to the Inland Valley Humane Society. The Humane Society then charged the Growney Brothers Rodeo C. with four counts of misusing a cattle prod.

California has a law that went into effect in 2001 that makes it a crime to use a cattle prod during a rodeo except to protect the participants or audience at a rodeo. SHARK and the Humane Society argued that the videotape showed workers at the rodeo using the cattle prods on four horses to force them out of the chute during a bucking bronco contest.

Pomono Court Commissioner Martin Goetsch ruled in favor of the rodeo, however, saying that he agreed with expert testimony provided by the defense that the use of the cattle prods was designed to protect the rider when horses failed to leave the chute on their own. The Whittier Daily News quoted Goetsch as ruling,

It appears clear to me everybody involved at the chute understands that . . . in each of these cases there was never an attempt to prod any of the horses while the gate was closed.

Goetsch’s decision cannot be appealed.


Rodeo provider cleared by judge. Diana L. Roemer, The Whittier Daily News, April 25, 2003.

PRCA rodeo company running from cruelty citations? Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, Press Release, 2002.

Eric Mills Sues First, Establishes Facts Later

Action for Animals activist Eric Mills sued four California school districts, including the Alameda Unified School District, alleging that it was illegal of them to have sent students to October’s Grand National Rodeo at San Francisco’s Cow Palace.

Mills’ lawsuit contends that such field trips violate state laws that prohibit schools from encouraging the inhumane treatment of animals.

Among other problems with his lawsuit, it turns out that the Alameda Unified School District did not send students to the rodeo in question.

Ah, nothing like an animal rights activist making sure he’s got his facts straight before rushing in.


Rodeo case eyes Island schools that weren’t there. Susan McDonough, Alameda Times, December 20, 2002.