Animal Care

Animals are at the heart of the Calgary Stampede and are a top priority for the organization. Grounded in over a century of tradition in agriculture, the Calgary Stampede is passionate and vigilant about animal care. During the annual Calgary Stampede, more than 7,500 animals take part in our various exhibitions, educational programs and competitions.

Throughout the year we consult with professional veterinary advisors. Our independent Animal Care Advisory Panel guides our decisions for animal policies and procedures, harnessing the expertise in livestock care, health and handling. Our Fitness to Compete program, considered one of the most comprehensive animal care programs in North America. We have an open dialogue with the Calgary Humane Society and Alberta SPCA.

In addition to these activities, we've set up an open forum for questions and answers with the public on animal care. You can find this interactive site, Animal Q & A, here

In the spirit of continuous improvement, we also look to the latest in science, welcoming or partnering with world-class researchers to better understand animal behavior, response and performance related to western events.

We take a disciplined approach to animal care, focused on meeting three distinct standards:

  1. The regulations set out in Alberta's Animal Protection Act. These regulations are monitored by the Calgary Humane Society and Alberta SPCA year-round;
  2. The codes of best practices for each animal species as recommended by Canada's industry experts and our Animal Care Advisory Panel; and
  3. The Stampede's own animal care code of practice. During Stampede, a team of veterinarians is on the Park full time to ensure proper care for the animals.

The Stampede's strict adherence to Alberta's Animal Protection Act means the Humane Society and Alberta SPCA have all-access privileges to Stampede Park. Their input has led to many refinements. During the 10-day Stampede we have a full-time team of veterinarians on hand and each animal is checked by a veterinarian daily. We also have an independent Animal Care Advisory Panel and a Chuckwagon Safety Commission to ensure we set the highest standards for proper animal care.

Links of interest:

Temple Grandin on Animal Care at the Stampede

2016 GMC Rangeland Derby enhanced safety measures

The Calgary Stampede is introducing a series of enhanced safety measures for the GMC Rangeland Derby in 2016. Since its introduction in 2011, our Fitness to Compete program has focused primarily on the health of the horses in the chuckwagon races. Now, new measures, (based in part on feedback from an experienced panel of chuckwagon experts) are being taken to ensure the track, wagons and drivers are also fit to compete.   The Calgary Stampede has a zero tolerance policy on preventable incidents involving animals. The following enhancements are intended to further reduce the risk of incidents that could be caused by track and wagon conditions or driver behaviours.

The Track

  • The ground along the inside rail has been rebuilt and reinforced for better footing and greater safety in times of heavy rain.
  • Barrel placement in the infield has been revised to better position wagons as they transition from the figure-8 start onto the track, reducing the potential for out-of-lane infractions and wagon contact.

The Wagons

  • Increased multi-point safety inspections of competition wagons during weigh-in, with the potential for random inspections throughout the ten days of racing.
  • Magnetic particle inspections of every wagon pole for flaws or cracks.
  • Competition wagons taken off Stampede Park for public appearances must be re-inspected upon return.

The Drivers

  • Drivers are now invited to compete at the Calgary Stampede based on a new qualification system that equally considers their safety record and competitiveness. A driver’s professionalism is also factored into the decision. Race rankings have traditionally been the primary consideration for qualification.
  • Drivers will have increased practice and training opportunities this year, with added times that the racetrack is available to them.
  • A new alternating Chuckwagon 101 driver format, allowing two drivers the opportunity to gain valuable exposure and experience on the track while performing the pre-race demonstration.