There are often two sides to such arguments, as even though these events might be seen as cruel, this doesn’t necessarily mean that those who participate are inherently cruel people.
But it is an interesting debate nonetheless, so let’s look into this further.
Does goat tying hurt goats?
The basic answer is probably.
Tying a goat is an overall pretty intense process, and there are several stages of it that could be harmful to the goat.
Firstly, a rope has to be thrown over the goat from the back of a horse and tightened.
Ropes are pretty abrasive, so this could harm them right away.
Then, the rider has to dismount, keeping hold of the goat, and ensure it doesn’t run away—by force if necessary.
Again, there’s a lot of chance for harm here.
After that, the rider grabs the goat, and flings it onto its side, slamming it onto the ground.
It’s difficult to see how anyone could sincerely think this does not hurt the goat, at least a little bit.
But this is broadly the argument that goat tiers would make.
It might hurt, but only a bit, and not in any way that’s permanent.
After being slammed, the goat’s legs are then pulled together—a rather unnatural position for a goat to be in.
Then, they are tightly bound together in a knot that is made very quickly.
Again, this isn’t really a comfortable position for a goat to be in.
So, any stage of this process has a very high chance of hurting goats.
Of course, the idea is not to hurt goats, and those who participate train to be sure they can tie the goat without causing it any serious injuries.
But you can imagine what it would be like to be caught, slammed, and tied up like that—it wouldn’t be a nice experience!
How long do they have to stay tied, then?
How long does a goat have to stay tied?
Once the goat has been tied, in order for the competitor to earn a score, they have to remain tied for at least six seconds.
This is how you get a qualifying score.
Tying goats up like this, even if it doesn’t hurt, is extremely stressful for them.
Especially when it is done in this fast-paced and intense manner, where speed is everything.
The same goes for the whole process, too.
It doesn’t have to directly hurt or injure the goat to be extremely stressful, and thus cruel.
Being prey animals, goats are on high alert to this kind of danger, and even if they’ve been through it many times, they are not going to be able to override their instinctive stress reaction.
Staying tied for however long, even as short a time as six seconds, is going to further that stress.
So, again, one of the big problems is when the same goat is used repeatedly.
This stress is going to build and build for the goat.
What’s the point of it all, then?
What is the point of goat tying?
It’s just an entertainment event, designed for young kids as a way into competitive rodeo games.
The idea is to demonstrate speed and dexterity, as well as masterful control of the animals involved.
Whether or not you agree it could be cruel, the abilities of the competitors are certainly very impressive.
Catching a goat and tying it in a matter of seconds certainly is a very impressive ability.
Generally, these events are for younger people and college students, though, so the point in that sense is to introduce them to the wider world of rodeo.
They enjoy it a lot—but do the goats?
Do goats enjoy goat tying?
No, is the short answer.
There’s nothing fun about the tying for the goat.
From the strange environment, they have been suddenly thrust into, to the roughhousing of the whole event, to the stress of the noise and spectators, there’s nothing for goats to enjoy about goat tying.
Goats enjoy hanging out on their pasture and grazing on forage.
They don’t understand what’s happening at a goat tying, and it most likely just makes them feel like they’re being preyed upon.
Very few animals enjoy the rodeo events they are involved in—it’s all very stressful for skittish animals like goats.
So, one way or another, the goats would probably prefer not to be involved in these events.
Something doesn’t have to be outright barbaric to ultimately be not very good for the animal.
Goat tying is seen by many as a harmless children’s event, designed to introduce them to the world of rodeos.
But we are taking a harder and harder stance on what is acceptable treatment of animals, and events like this are likely to be under more and more scrutiny.