The timing is right for Motley Crue's Tommy Lee to speak up as the band rolls into Calgary for a show this week. Lee, who is an avid animal rights supporter, has penned an open letter to the Honorable Premier of Alberta, Alison Redford, asking for her support in putting an end to the long running Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races.

Lee wrote the letter on behalf of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) after learning about past issues that occurred with the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races. His hope is to be proactive in advance of this year's event.

Lee's letter reads as follows:

The Honourable Premier of Alberta
Alison Redford

Dear Premier Redford:

I love touring Canada, and our Calgary fans are among the roughest and toughest. But I’ve heard about some unwilling participants in an annual local event much harsher than a Motley Crue show—the horses killed year after year in the chuckwagon races at the Calgary Stampede. Every year, people around the world hear about the horses injured and killed. Since there are dozens of other events at the stampede that aren’t so fatal, won’t you pull the plug on the chuckwagon race?

I learned from my friends at PETA that despite new rules to make the races safer last year, three horses had to be euthanized after crippling injuries when their wagons collided. The only way to make these races safe is to cancel them. There was a time when cowboys respected their horses, instead of riding them to death just to show off for a crowd. The horses forced into the chuckwagon races die of heart attacks, broken necks, broken legs, and other injuries. It’d be easy to get off on western tradition without this bloody spectacle. Dude, it’s the old west, not ancient Rome!

With this summer’s Stampede still months away, won’t you use your influence to cancel the chuckwagon races? Thanks for your time, and if you want to see a really wild show I’d love to have you as my guest in Calgary on Monday!


Tommy Lee

Though there was no official response from the premier's office, the Canadian Press reports that an official with Alberta agriculture stated that the province would never ignore any signs of abuse.

“It falls within our portfolio and we do take treatment of animals very seriously, so we’ve worked very closely with the Calgary Stampede and we continue to do that,” said Cathy Housdorff, who added that the Stampede's animal care is of a high standard and that the government has no intention of shutting down the races.

There have been concerns over the welfare of the animals after six horses died in 2010, but Stampede officials have taken action in the year's since to increase the protection for both humans and animals participating in the event. Doug Fraser, a Calgary Stampede official, told the Canadian Press, "We don’t think Tommy Lee is a large animal expert. We would urge him and anybody who has that feeling to actually talk to the drivers themselves about the care and well-being that they provide to their animals … All we can do is repeat that our approach to care for the performance horses that are brought to Stampede Park every year has always been aggressive and based on science."

This year’s Calgary Stampede runs July 5-14.