PBR’s Policy regarding the Welfare and Treatment of Animal Athletes:
In the PBR, the bulls are treated with as much respect as, if not more than, the human athletes who ride them. The PBR’s Animal Welfare Policy exemplifies the great regard in which everyone associated with the organization holds these athletes, as well as explains the care they receive as professional athletes.
There are two great athletes in every 8-second ride, the bull rider and THE BULL.
The Professional Bull Riders is fully committed to ensuring the health, safety, welfare and respect of each bovine athlete that enters a PBR arena. The care and treatment of PBR bulls is a top priority to those who govern and/or participate in PBR events. The organization operates under a no tolerance policy for any mistreatment of an animal associated with the PBR.
PBR Safety & Welfare Measures
PBR has proactively initiated and implemented a number of measures designed to foster and support the welfare of our bovine athletes.
- PBR redesigned the traditional rodeo bucking chute to improve rider and bull safety. Since it was implementation, the design has eliminated leg injuries suffered by bulls in the bucking chutes, which is the most common form of injury.
- PBR redesigned the traditional rodeo lead-up alleys and holding areas to further mitigate the risk of injuries to the bulls.
- With the sport’s stock contractors, the PBR establish guidelines for the transportation of bulls to and from events, including but not limited to:
- Bulls ride in trailers with air-ride suspensions to reduce the risk of injury during transportation.
- Bulls are hauled for no more than 10 hours at a time and given an equal amount of time to rest before resuming travel.
- In each city in which an event is conducted, bulls are housed at local ranch facilities with the proper pen size and space per bull. Bulls are trucked from the local facility to the event venue and back each day.
- There are approximately 60 bulls at a one-day event, 90 bulls at a two-day event and 110 bulls at a three-day event. A bull bucks only one time per day and no more than two times at a typical event. Approximately 30-40 of the bulls at a typical two-day event will buck only once at that event.
The welfare of PBR’s animal athletes is a higher priority than any other consideration when making decisions with respect to the animal’s well-being, including the financial impact of those decisions. In November 2006, the PBR held an event in Hawaii, the Hawaii All-Star. The PBR had the option to ship bulls to Hawaii via boat which would have taken seven days, but also cost considerably less than other alternatives. Instead, the PBR determined that the welfare of the animals would be compromised during such a journey, therefore it invested nearly $350,000, compared to less than $100,000 if shipped by sea, to fly the necessary bulls to Hawaii for the event in special, customized containers.
The value of the bulls to the stock contractors who own and breed them and to the PBR helps ensure that every effort and safeguard is in place to protect the bulls from any mistreatment or situation that would adversely affect their quality of life, ability to continue competing or their futures as breeding bulls. Many of the bulls currently bucking on PBR tours are valued at approximately the six-figures; the owner of PBR’s greatest bull, Bushwacker, was offered $1 million for his three-time World Champion bull.
Care of the Animal Athletes
- Bulls receive about 10-15 pounds of a special blend of a high-protein grain ration per day. The blend varies depending on the bull’s needs and the stock contractor.
- Bulls receive approximately 15 pounds of high-quality hay per day.
- Many bulls receive a B-12 complex vitamin shot monthly as well as nutritional supplements.
- Bulls receive a health inspection any time they have to cross state lines per federal, state and city regulations.
- Bulls are only allowed to travel a maximum of 10 hours per day. After 10 hours, the bulls are rested for 12-14 hours.
- Bulls stand in 6-10 inches of sawdust shavings during transport for their comfort.
- Each stock contractor has a local veterinarian on call for their bulls.
- Many bulls also receive chiropractic care and acupuncture as needed to keep them in top shape and feeling great.
Like humans, PBR bucking bulls come in an array of shapes, sizes, and colors, and like humans, their own personalities and talents make them unique. The PBR has a vast number of championship-caliber bulls that compete on the PBR’s multi-tiered tour structure. The bulls receive impeccable treatment and are often considered to be a “member of the family.”
It is extremely rare that a PBR bull is injured as a result of its performance, however bulls that suffer a career-ending injury are retired to stud and live the balance of their lives as healthy, fully capable breeding bulls. While their injuries may prevent them from competing at the PBR level as a bucking athlete, they do not impede their quality of life or ability to function.
PBR policy for injured bulls:
- At PBR 25th: Unleash the Beast events there is a vet on site or on call at all times during the performances.
- In most cases involving injuries with bulls in arena the bulls are able to leave on their own.
- In the case of a bull not being able to leave on his own power, PBR has the ability to assist and insure a safe departure of the injured bull.
- At all PBR 25th: Unleash the Beast events, a sled is available upon which the bull is secured and taken from the arena, usually by a skid steer.
- After an injured bull has exited the arena, he is put upon a trailer and taken to the veterinarian’s office or bull housing for further evaluation.
- In the case of serious injuries requiring assisted help from outside the arena, updates to the bull’s condition will be released to the public upon PBR’s approval.