A petition organized by sheep protection group Lambenations has drawn more than 74,000 signatures in an attempt to put the kibosh on the popular Mutton Bustin' event at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver.

Calling the Mutton Bustin' sheep-racing event "cruel" to the animals, Samantha Francis of sheep protection group Lambenations first started her campaign against similar events in the United Kingdom, where she lives, successfully convincing organizers to cancel three such races. When she heard about the Stock Show's Mutton Bustin' competition, a tradition held every January in Denver, she turned her attention there, starting a petition which has since collected more than 74,000 signatures and is very close to its 75,000-signature goal. [caption id="attachment_28890" align="aligncenter" width="404"]mutton bustin Image courtesy of National Western Stock Show[/caption] "'Mutton Bustin' is the practice of holding a sheep in a chute and placing a child ... on the sheep's back," the petition webpage explains. "The sheep is then released from the chute and the child has to stay on for as long as possible while the terrified sheep runs until the child falls off." Francis claims that the race activity is petrifying to the sheep, since they perceive the children as predators. And since children often grab hold of sheep's ears and tails in their attempt to stay on the sheep's back, the event is all the more cruel to the animals.
The Mutton Bustin' competition is one of the Stock Show's most popular events, however, according to the Stock Show's website. In fact, it's a popular activity at rodeos all around the United States. Participating children must generally be between the ages of 5 and 7 and under 55 pounds. The National Western Stock Show is scheduled to take place in Denver, January 6–21, 2018. What do you think? Should Mutton Bustin' be banned from the Stock Show? Do you think the Stock Show organizers would listen to a petition with 75,000 signatures? Please tell us what you think in the comments below!

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