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Woodside: Annual rodeo draws two protest groups

Original post made on Jul 5, 2018

Two protest groups stood along Kings Mountain Road in Woodside at the entrance to the grounds of the Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County on Wednesday. The occasion: the annual Fourth of July junior rodeo, including the controversial pig scramble. (See video of a segment of the pig scramble.)

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 5, 2018, 6:59 PM

Comments (19)

Posted by Eric Mills
a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2018 at 11:14 am

Eric Mills is a registered user.

Kudos to both groups,anti-pig scrambles and anti-rodeo folks alike. They're both on the right track. There's a third group I'd like to see out there: the local religious community. Surely this is a moral and ethical issue, and one of compassion for all God's creatures, yes? As the late Edward Abbey wrote, "Sentiment without ACTION is a wound upon the soul."

For those in doubt, consider this statement from world-renowned animal behaviorist, Dr. Temple Grandin (Colorado State University):

"The single worst thing you can do to an animal emotionally is to make it feel afraid. Fear is so bad for animals I think it's worse than pain."

Be aware that all rodeo animals are "prey" animals. As such, they fear for their very lives when roped, ridden, wrestled, chased, dragged or otherwise handled roughly. For most, rodeo is merely a detour en route to the slaughterhouse.

AND THIS: State Education Code 60042 mandates that "humane education and kindness to animals" be taught in the public schools, K-12. Most of rodeo--including the pig scrambles--would seem to be a violation of that mandate. Woodside Elementary, what say you? These abuses send a terrible message to impressionable young children about the proper and humane treatment of animals.

One would expect better from a wealthy, educated and (reportedly) progressive community such as Woodside. Legislation is in order to stop the cruelty: local, county, state. Let your representatives hear from you: Woodside Town Council, San Mateo Board of Supervisors, Senator Jerry Hill and Assemblymember Marc Berman. Perhaps the Peninsula Humane Society could sponsor the needed legislation. (Ken White, director - email,

As Gandhi famously wrote, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Clearly, there's work to be done.

Eric Mills, coordinator
email -

Posted by Ashlee P.
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 6, 2018 at 12:47 pm

Ashlee P. is a registered user.

WOW! That video says it all. Look at the boy yanking on the leg of the pig. The adult is even worse yanking and dragging the poor animals by the leg!

If the mounted patrol is so confident that this is a moral activity let's please do a puppy scramble instead next year. Let's see if the community would stand for puppies being chased then yanked and dragged by their legs. It is even more stressful for a piglet than a puppy since pigs are prey animals and prey animals are scared when chased.

Posted by awatkins
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Jul 6, 2018 at 1:02 pm

awatkins is a registered user.

Eric --

As you say, "For most, rodeo is merely a detour en route to the slaughterhouse."

What are you going to do about the slaughterhouse? Where's your video of that? And given that horror, why are you wasting your time on a little leg pulling?

Posted by awatkins
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Jul 6, 2018 at 1:16 pm

awatkins is a registered user.

California Penal Code Section 597 says:

"...every person who overdrives, overloads, drives when overloaded, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, cruelly beats, mutilates, or cruelly kills any animal, or causes or procures any animal to be so overdriven, overloaded, driven when overloaded, overworked, tortured, tormented, deprived of necessary sustenance, drink, shelter, or to be cruelly beaten, mutilated, or cruelly killed; and whoever, having the charge or custody of any animal, either as owner or otherwise, subjects any animal to needless suffering, or inflicts unnecessary cruelty upon the animal, or in any manner abuses any animal, or fails to provide the animal with proper food, drink, or shelter or protection from the weather, or who drives, rides, or otherwise uses the animal when unfit for labor, is, for each offense, guilty of a crime..."

Rather than stand around for a little while on a nice sunny afternoon holding a sign, why not pursue this under existing state law?

Posted by Ashlee P.
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 6, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Ashlee P. is a registered user.

Well I don't see why it's ok to abuse an animal before the final trip to the slaughter house. I'm just trying to point out the hypocrisy of saying that chasing and dragging a pig is humane when we would never do this to a puppy. Dogs are predators while pigs are prey animals, so it way worse for a pig.

I challenge the mounted patrol to hold a puppy scramble next year.

Posted by Eric Mills
a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2018 at 3:25 pm

Eric Mills is a registered user.

SOME USEFUL CONTACT INFO. PRINT OUT FOR EASY REFERENCE. There's a crying need for local, county and state legislation to ban rodeo cruelty.

WOODSIDE TOWN COUNCIL - Independence Hall, 2955 Woodside Road, Woodside, CA 94062. MEMBERS: Daniel Yost, Mayor Pro Tem; Deborah C. Gordon; Chris Shaw, Mayor; David Tanner; Thomas H. Livermore; Anne Kasten (District 7 - vacant). Gordon, Tanner & Karsten are up for re-election in November 2018. Tel. 650/851-6790; email - COUNCIL MEETS in Independence Hall, Tuesday, July 10 and July 24, 7:30pm. PUBLIC COMMENT is first thing on the agenda. Let them hear from you!

SAN MATEO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS - 400 County Center, Redwood City, CA 94063. Clerk tel. 650/363-4571. Board meets Tuesday, July 10 and 24, 9:00 a.m. PUBLIC COMMENT (2 min.) 1st thing up. SUPERVISORS: Dave Pine, (650/363-4571); Carole Groom (363-4568); Don Horsley (363-4569); Warren Slocum (353-4570); David Canepa (363-4572).

SENATOR JERRY HILL (D-San Mateo) - District office - 1528 South El Camino Road, #303, San Mateo, CA 94402; tel. 650/212-3313; Sacramento office tel. 916/651-4013.

ASSEMBLYMEMBER MARC BERMAN (D-Los Altos) - District office - 5050 El Camino Real, #117, Los Altos, Ca 94022. District # - 650/619-2121; Sacramento office tel. 916/319-2024.


SAN MATEO COUNTY MOUNTED PATROL (sponsor of Woodside Jr. Rodeo), 521 Kings Mountain Road, Woodside, Ca 94062; tel. 650/851-8300; email - Worth noting that this is a MEN ONLY organization. Some 30 years ago the Patrol lost a sex discrimination lawsuit (see GOOGLE).

Ken White, CEO, Peninsula Humane Society, tel. 650/340-7022; email -

WOODSIDE ALMANAC - (300 words, max)

Let the powers-that-be hear from you! Meanwhile, boycott rodeo cruelty.

Posted by Laurie Powell
a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2018 at 3:47 pm

Laurie Powell is a registered user.

If parents believe the event to be harmless and fun, why not divide the children into predator and prey groups and let them scramble for one another? (They could then switch roles.) There is no need to involve members of another species who did not opt to participate in the event and who may feel stressed and confused by it.

Posted by kim2381
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jul 6, 2018 at 3:56 pm

kim2381 is a registered user.

The video says it all. Anyone who thinks it ok to treat a pig, dog, pug, calf, foal, or ANY animal like that needs to think again. I have said it before, and will say it again, SHAME on the Woodside Town Council for allowing this to go on when they have the power to stop it. Cruelty in the guise of a fun activity for kids needs to STOP

Posted by Eric Mills
a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2018 at 4:03 pm

Eric Mills is a registered user.

The Woodside Town Council meets this coming Tuesday night, July 10, 7:30pm at Independence Hall, 2955 Woodside Road. Public Comment is first thing on the agenda. Perfect time to address the Jr. Rodeo's animal welfare issues.

Three of the Council members are up for re-election in November: Deborah Gordon, David Tanner and Anne Kasten. They all need to take a more compassionate stand for animal welfare, or risk being replaced by people who will.

Posted by Heather V
a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2018 at 4:25 pm

Heather V is a registered user.

Bullying terrified, innocent animals is cruel and perverted "entertainment." Teaching our children that it is ok to do these things is incredibly irresponsible and downright stupid. We are desensitizing them to cruelty and violence. With all the horrific current events (in particular, school shootings & bullying), why not give our children every advantage, and teach them COMPASSION, kindness and respect for others!

Animals would never place their bodies in harm's way, risking broken bones and other massive injuries, for selfish humans. IF these things are so acceptable, then I would challenge these pathetic cowboys to do the EXACT SAME things to EACH OTHER. Get roped around your necks, hog tied, wrestled to the ground, and we can even take your lactating cowgirl counterparts and "wild milk" them. Better yet, lets take YOUR babies and rope them around the necks. After all, these are BABY CALVES that you are killing.

Rodeo needs to stop. The disgusting rodeo and all of its related events. Anybody who thinks these things are acceptable needs to grow a pair and have it done to them. I would pay good money to see that.

Posted by awatkins
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Jul 6, 2018 at 8:43 pm

awatkins is a registered user.

Some questions for the last few posters who have turned this into an anti-rodeo tirade:

None of you are Woodside residents. Why are you so focused on our tiny little pathetic rodeo when there are hundreds of vastly larger ones all around California? What exactly are you going to do about those? Are you going to try to get legislation passed in every single town of a few thousand or more? If so, why? Or are you all just picking on Woodside because it’s nearby and convenient?

I published the existing California statute on animal cruelty. What exactly is insufficient with it? And in particular, Eric, why do we need legislation at all three levels of government at the same time? Why leave out Federal and Unite Nations?

What is your proposed statute language?

If all you are going to do is whine about this in this idiotic little newspaper and a few people waste a few more hours of the town council’s time, you are going to accomplish nothing. How about coming up with a plan and proposed legislation for the state assembly, where this belongs?

Yes, that would be a LOT of work for a whole bunch of you. So if your answer is no, then this is really about expressing your self-righteous indignation in a trivial way so you can feel good for a while for having “done something” from behind your keyboard.

But really, you haven’t done anything at all.

Posted by awatkins
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Jul 6, 2018 at 8:58 pm

awatkins is a registered user.

And a word of advice for Eric, especially: coming at us with snotty language like “One would expect better from a wealthy, educated and (reportedly) progressive community like Woodside” is going to convince no one outside your tiny little bubble. Taking a swipe at the entire town of 5,000+ is absolutely the best way to make sure your cause loses.

Why not just call us a basket of deplorables?

Posted by Bold Chapeau
a resident of another community
on Jul 7, 2018 at 10:54 pm

Bold Chapeau is a registered user.

In 1964 Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said of pornography: "I know it when I see it." Same with animal abuse. Anyone who attempts to deny, minimize, obfuscate, deflect, justify or excuse what is blatant animal abuse is clearly without a shred of compassion or moral compass.

Posted by Kindness
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2018 at 2:29 pm

Kindness is a registered user.

Wow Folks! This is 2018 and you call this entertainment! It is flat out animal abuse. I agree with Ashlee P in that the video said it all. It's time to realize that all beings with 2 eyes and a nervous system sense fear and pain. Why would you want to inflict FEAR and pain upon these innocent pigs. Please stop this senseless event now Woodside. Show the world more compassion.

Posted by Bonnie Knight
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2018 at 7:13 pm

Bonnie Knight is a registered user.

To A. Watkins and anyone else who supports the rodeo,

You sidestep the issue of "a little leg pulling" and the cruelty involved because Woodside is a small community. How does the fact that the number of animals who are being terrorized is small make it acceptable?

You guess that the people commenting are choosing a smaller rodeo because they do not want to do the work opposing larger rodeos. You couldn't be more off-base. Eric Mills and other people who speak for the voiceless animals are opposing all rodeos at every level of government that has jursidction and are working constantly to save the animals from experiencing torture, pain and fear for the entertainment of people who do not recognize the rights of animals.

Letters to the editor are not trivial and it is not that there is a choice between writing in response to media coverage and writing to legislators. Animal rights activists do BOTH and much more. They write letters, they write donation checks, they show up to California State legislative meetings and local community meetings, they demonstrate wherever animal cruelty takes place.

Animal abuse should not be entertainment, period. Kindness and compassion are important!

Posted by Concerned resident
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2018 at 7:39 pm

Concerned resident is a registered user.

For one day each year, Woodside looks away while animals are brought into this town to abused as a way to raise funds.
Woodside is a Town where horses are treasured, many loving families raise their families in this Town. Hundreds of Woodside residents have signed petitions saying, “stop the Pig Scramble.” The Town Livestock committee recommended replacing the pig scramble with an activity where children would learn about pigs, not torture them. One council member supported working on a resolution against the pig scramble. The Planning Commission realized that the Conditional Use Permit for the Mounted Patrol pretty much deals with when they can make noise,
It is time to ask why this wonderful Town is home to animal abuse for one day. The pig scramble is animal abuse.

Posted by Animal Advocate
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2018 at 8:25 pm

Animal Advocate is a registered user.

The horror of the slaughterhouse that you reference is documented in many places. A recently released full length movie entitled "Dominion" graphically depicts the horrifying abuse and slaughter of innocent animals. It includes the Rodeo and it's culture of dominance and abuse for entertainment. It's more than a little leg pulling! Since you're interested you can easily access similar documentaries such as "Earthlings", "What the Health", "Forks Over Knives via Google. The more educated everyone becomes the less tolerant they will be. Change takes time and animal cruelty for entertainment by Rodeo's like Ringling Brother's Circus will eventually not be tolerated and have to shut down, legislation or no legislation!

Posted by Eric Mills
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Eric Mills is a registered user.

The "pig scrambles" may be the least of it. See link below to the finals of a Jr. Rodeo in New Mexico. These same events are featured at the Woodside Jr. Rodeo and elsewhere: Animal Abuse Meets Child Desensitization.

Web Link


Posted by Eric Mills
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Eric Mills is a registered user.

And see this article from last year's ALMANAC about the Jr. Rodeo, with more than 50 comments, most in favor of stopping the cruel "pig scrambles."

Web Link

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