No on expanding Alameda County Ordinance 5​.​08

The following correspondence has been sent to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on behalf of the LSRA, urging a “NO” vote on the expansion of Alameda County Ordinance 5.08.
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The Livermore Stockmen’s Rodeo Association, with over 300 active members, business owners and sponsors has recently learned that the Board is considering making changes to Alameda County Ordinance 5.08. The proposed changes, as written, would destroy the sport of rodeo and negatively impact agriculture and the ability to support families in the rural portions of unincorporated Alameda County. The belief that the devices being considered for elimination cause consistent animal injury is ludicrous and is a one-sided argument developed by vegans who have relentlessly brought the issue to the Board of Supervisors despite being denied in the past.

The California Penal Code already has laws governing rodeo (PC 596.7) and animal cruelty and abuse (PC 597). Existing California Law ensures animal welfare and contestant safety. The Board of Supervisors already approved a more restrictive county ordinance, eliminating a large portion of youth rodeo sports in the unincorporated area. Your previous ordinance amendment has negatively impacted youth agricultural sports and sent dozens of sheep to slaughter, and likely dozens more from being born.

The elimination of spurs, ropes, and soft cotton flank straps will prohibit all sporting events completed by the sanctioned Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association. This is a national organization supporting 1000’s of cowboys, competitors, sponsors and rodeo fans. Are you sure the Board wants to eliminate a professional sport and have them move out of County? This would be consistent with the loss of the Las Vegas Raiders, Golden State Warriors, and likely the Oakland A’s. Like rodeo, all these professional events bring revenue and community enjoyment. Support for rodeo in the region is blatantly apparent. The annual events, which were sold out at Rowell Ranch and Livermore Rodeo, celebrated over 100 years of rodeo tradition. Outside of the professional sporting event, community attendance at the rodeo parades in Castro Valley and Livermore were exciting, heavily attended and contributed to the livability of the community.

Spurs and ropes are used everyday in agriculture. It is how animals are doctored, gathered, and moved to different fields and locations. This is often required when animals are sick, endangered by wildfire or forced out of normal pastures due to loss of water and feed caused by our decade long drought.

I would like to point the Boards attention to how rodeo and agriculture activities support the four (4) 2026 visions established by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors:

1. Harm to the Environment- The sport of rodeo does not impact pollution in Alameda County and is consistent with other agricultural activities that feed this nation. Additionally, livestock used during rodeo events are maintained and thrive in the wildlands of Alameda County. These animals control excess fuel consumed by wildfires that not only threaten the environment, but also the communities containing the citizenry.

2. Thriving and Resilient Population- Prohibiting sporting events, community gatherings, agricultural awareness, history, and cultural activities is counter the Board’s vision to create a thriving and resilient population so they can grow, flourish and be self-sufficient. Rodeo and agricultural activities build a thriving population and offer outdoor recreation.

3. Safe and Livable Communities- Prohibiting rodeo, which is what amending the ordinance will do, takes away enjoyment and use of some of our open lands. As the amendment is written, not only is rodeo forced out, animal shows, 4H events, horse lessons, livestock shows, and animal therapy will be prohibited as they are all done for some level of entertainment value. The ordinance will also eliminate the ability to enjoy recreation by many people, whether rodeo contestant, hobby rancher or agriculture observer.

4. Prosperous and Vibrant Economy- Amendment to this ordinance will reduce the economic prosperity of many residents in Alameda County. It would effectively eliminate the economic growth of those who partake in livestock breeding, shows, farmers producing hay / alfalfa, ranchers producing food for consumption and would destroy a tradition that financially saved the Tri Valley during WWI. History you should know and understand before further restricting an already restrictive ordinance.

America’s food supply is largely produced and provided by hobby (recreational) farmers and ranchers. Your ordinance will all but eliminate the ability of hobby ranchers to provide and supplement a growing need for food for a hungry population.

Instead of supporting this restrictive agriculture ordinance, I would believe the Board should remind people, including activists, where food comes from and how it gets there. Take the time to recognize the efforts of local ranchers and farmers for what they have done and continue to do for the community. Remember, rodeo has been a proud part of this County’s history and culture for over 100 years. Does the Board want to be responsible for ending a highly attended and celebrated community and cultural event in Alameda County?

On behalf of over 300 Livermore Rodeo members and over 15,000 rodeo fans who attend, do not amend the County Ordinance surrounding rodeo.