Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ride ’em, sheepboy!

Sick, sick, sick: Little kids riding sheep . . . seeing who can stay on the longest . . . winning medals . . . being lauded for getting back on if they’re jounced off . . .

“Mutton busting” is called a “sport” and often used as a steppingstone to competitive rodeo events.

The July 26 NYTimes carried this sports section story, “Little Lambs, Not the Sheep, Get Early Lessons in the Rodeo Life.” When you think humans have already concocted all the fiendish things possible to do to innocent animals, along comes something new.

Mentioning that make believe rodeo with sheep is an old farm pastime now being mainstreamed, Sarah Maslin Nir details how it works for kids 3-6 years old. Although they wear helmets with face cages and protective vests, they’re still subject to bloody noses and faces full of dirt.

The sheep involved – involuntarily, needless to say – can sustain sprained limbs.

Now on its way to becoming “a codified sport with its own gear and championships,” mutton busting “builds character,” one mother (also a nurse) believes. She mentions that her son is small for his size and says successfully riding sheep “did so much for his little ego.”

Well, that’s just great. What else do sheep exist for but that? (Years ago an acquaintance whose family had moved West wrote back that shooting his first wild animal had helped her son overcome his shyness and gain confidence.)

The story quoted one person who said mutton busting “borders on child abuse.” No one commented on its inherent animal abuse.

Sick, sick, sick.


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