I wanted to commend you for the informative article about charrería, “Dust in the wind” [Sept. 29]. As a proud father, husband, son, brother and charro (and a high school teacher), I am delighted to read an article that ties family, tradition and sport into one genuine testimonial and in-depth investigation at the same time. Educating (accurately and properly) the public has always been a concern for charros in the United States due to the constant attacks by animal activists.
Thank you for coming to our event and sharing our great sport to others who may not otherwise know about charrería and may be quick to judge it erroneously. The article (or Rigoberto Campos, our team's president) failed to mention that we, Charros de San Ysidro Inc., are a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and competing and performing for civic groups, schools and community-service organizations. We hold weekly workshops, at no cost, for young boys and girls to teach proper equestrian care, rope tricking and bull riding, among other endeavors. Our goal and hope of all charros is that everyone who comes in contact with charrería will leave with a positive and wholesome impression.
Thanks for writing and publishing the article.
Filemón Jara Montañez, Secreatry, Charros de San Ysidro
About “Dust in the wind,” your Sept. 29 cover story on charrería: To answer this article's subtitle, “Can Mexico's national sport survive in the U.S. amid increasing animal-welfare regulation? I say: I certainly hope not!
The charreria has a lot in common with the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association). Just as the charreria claims to have strict rules and severe penalties in place to protect the animals, so does the PRCA. Both lie.
All you have to do is view either event and see the blatant cruelty and then compare that to how many penalties are meted out. None!
It's time we evolved and demanded that these so-called sports employ willing participants only. I, for one, would pay to watch these animal abusers on the receiving end of the cruelty they inflict.
Claire Vinet, Irvine
Charrería must stop
About “Dust in the wind,” your Sept. 29 cover story on charrería: First of all, thank you for publicizing this awful so-called sport. This dreadful behavior must stop, and I for one would be willing to fight to make these events totally illegal. It's just disgusting.
Please continue your good work, and help us bring about needed change in our laws to protect these helpless animals, such as the weak mares urinating on themselves in fear and the battered steers with their tails being twisted off. It's beyond belief !
Lynn Wells, Blue Apple Ranch, Poway
There oughtta be a law
Kudos to reporter Enrique Limon for his Sept. 29 article on the Mexican-style rodeo called charreada. It was both even-handed and informative. Thanks also to photographer Tim Hardy for his fine visuals. Your Pulitzer is in the mail.
I'm a big fan of cultural diversity, but I draw the line at animal abuse. And, assuredly, both horse tripping (manganas) and steer tailing (colas) cross that line. I sponsored state legislation in 1993 to ban horse tripping. It passed the following year, by a floor vote of 115-5. Eight other states quickly followed suit.
Now it's time for a ban on the brutal steer-tailing event. Neither of these events is sanctioned by any American-style rodeo association (which has its own share of problems), and neither is a standard ranching practice anywhere in the U.S. There's precedent: Nebraska banned this cruelty in 2008, and two California counties (Alameda and Contra Costa) did so in 1993.
The steers may have their tails broken, even ripped off (“de-gloved”). And I have video footage of horses having their legs broken when the steers run the wrong way. Not acceptable.
The late Cesar Chavez wrote me the following in 1990: “Racism, economic deprival, dog fighting and cockfighting, bullfighting and rodeos are cut from the same fabric: violence. Only when we have become nonviolent towards all life will we have learned to live well ourselves.” Words to live by.
Hopefully, some compassionate San Diego County legislator (Sen. Christine Kehoe? Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher?) will introduce a bill next session to outlaw steer tailing.
All legislators may be written c/o the State Capitol, Sacramento, CA, 95814.
Eric Mills, coordinator, Action for Animals, Oakland