22 May 2013

Animal Rights Protester Attack Appears In Part Racially Motivated

UPDATE: Looks like she has already been identified.

I remember the first rodeo I attended in Manitoba growing up, though I apparently had attended others when I was younger that I can't recall now. I was six years old and two events are retained in my memory. The first was the calf roping competition. I remember my mother consoling me as I cried because the baby cows were being hurt. The second was one of the rides. Instead of a Merry-Go-Round, this rodeo had real ponies. I remember how disinterested the person running the ride looked as he did his job of leading the tired (and if memory serves somewhat emaciated) ponies around in a circle. One of the ponies stopped and the guy hit it with a leather strap to get it going again hard enough that it actually started to bleed. My mother took my off the pony, screamed bloody murder at the guy abusing the ponies, and we promptly left the rodeo grounds.

While that was the first rodeo I attended that I can remember, it was also my last.

So when this story was sent to us, I couldn't help but remember my own rodeo experience and admire those who protest the abuse, knowing full well that they may very well be subject to abuse themselves:

METRO VANCOUVER -- Surrey RCMP is investigating an alleged assault against an animal rights protestor Saturday near the Cloverdale Rodeo.

Corp. Bert Paquet said Tuesday the woman injured in the altercation was allegedly dragged to the ground and punched and kicked by two or three people, after protesting about cruelty to animals at the rodeo.

The leadup to the alleged assault at 4 p.m. was captured on video when the victim, a 27-year-old Surrey woman who suffered minor injuries and complained of pain to her face, neck and head, got into an argument with another woman.

"She was confronted by an unidentified female," said Paquet, noting that the alleged assailant used racial slurs against the victim and that the incident did not take place on the Cloverdale Rodeo grounds although he didn't know the actual location.

"The verbal exchange escalated to the point where the woman spat on the victim. After that, the victim had her hair pulled, and she was dragged to the ground and punched and kicked by two or three people, including the female."

The alleged assault was not captured on the video.

Paquet, who did not have the alleged victim's name, said the argument stemmed from "a divergence of opinion regarding the rodeo and cruelty to animals.

"It was a classic case of a verbal argument escalating to a physical confrontation.

"We are actively investigating this and looking for anyone who can identify the woman (in the video), or who witnessed the incident."

During the 48-second video, which has been posted on YouTube, the alleged victim is heard taunting the suspect, saying "Come here, hit me" to her alleged assailant, who then said "I wouldn't waste my f...... time."

However, the alleged assailant then responds with vulgar comments and the argument escalates to the point in which another woman tries to restrain the alleged suspect. The video then goes dead as the alleged assault begins.

Anyone with information is asked to call RCMP at 604-599-0502.

Meanwhile, police were also called to several fights over the weekend outside the Longhorn saloon at the fair, but most were short and "nothing of significance," said Paquet.

"Most of the fights appeared consensual in nature."

An inebriated man was arrested after allegedly assaulting a security guard outside the saloon.

- with a file from Surrey Now

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

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