On March 22nd, 2021, Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) released an undercover investigation of an unlicensed, unregulated rodeo in Okeechobee, Florida – Rancho La Esperanza, that exploits cows and horses in violent acts of animal abuse and torture for the sake of entertainment.
At Rancho La Esperanza, the most violent ‘sports’ known to be performed at any rodeo are hosted regularly. This ‘sport’ is referred to as Coleaderos or ‘steer-tailing’.
steer-tailing entails a mounted rider who pursues a high-speed chase on a running steer down a narrow track. The riders’ goal is to grab the cow by the tail, wrap it around their leg or stirrup, then drag or violently slam the steer to the ground, full force, by making sharp turns.
This abuse continues for up to 8 hours as traumatized, and exhausted cows are continually cycled through a chute connecting to the arena where anxious participants await on their horses for the chance to pull a cow to the ground and show off their ‘skills’.
The cows are deprived of water, rest, or medical treatment for injuries that they receive during the event. They are repeatedly beaten with whips, stabbed with sharp sticks and shocked with electric prods. The cows sustain torn muscles, broken bones to their tails (from the aggressive grabbing of the riders), and even have their skin ripped from their tails (Degloving), due to the excessive pulling on the cows tails by the riders during the competition.
Steer-tailing itself is illegal in South and Central American and is banned in parts of the United States. Although it is rare in America, steer-tailing is performed in several states, including Florida, Texas, and Arizona.
The USDA, or any other government agency, are not currently regulating this sport or the underground rodeos that ‘steer-tailing’ (Colederos) are hosted at. As a result of this lack of oversight, multiple animal cruelty laws are in gross violation.
ARM’s goal is to expose the inhumane treatment and exploitation of cows at underground rodeos, and work towards the USDA and legislators enforcing a federal ban of steer-tailing in the United States.
To read the entire report of ARM’s findings of Rancho La Esperanza and the brutal ‘sport’ of steer-tailing at this unlicensed rodeo, click here, or scroll below.
ARM’s EXCLUSIVE VIDEO FOOTAGE