Campaigner Charged With Violation
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) _ A U.S. animal rights campaigner detained at the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee while dressed as a cow was charged with violating a city ordinance on public order.
Sean Gifford, a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was detained for a half hour Wednesday and released.
As a nonresident of Switzerland, Gifford was ordered to pay a $60 bond _ equivalent to the fine he could face _ in case he fails to appear in court, Lausanne Municipal Police spokesman Christian Sechaux said.
Gifford was held for questioning while protesting a rodeo set to take place Feb. 9 to 11 during the Olympic Arts Festival at the Salt Lake City Games. PETA maintains rodeos are cruel.
Sechaux said Gifford chained himself to the door of the IOC building and carried a poster reading ``Don’t Shame the Games _ Stop the Olympic Rodeo!″
PETA has been following the Olympic torch around the United States, handing out leaflets urging cancellation of the rodeo.
``Animals used in rodeos are provoked into displaying ‘wild’ behavior by means of painful devices like electric prods,″ PETA said. Severe injuries to animals, or death, are common, the group claimed.
Animal rights campaigners met with Salt Lake Organizing Committee president Mitt Romney and Arts Festival director Ray Grant in November. They refused to cancel the event, but agreed to ask the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association about possibly eliminating calf-roping.
The association declined, and the rodeo still includes bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronco riding, calf roping, women’s barrel racing and bull riding.
``We have taken measures to ensure the rodeo animals will be protected, including having IOC officials on hand accompanied by veterinarians,″ IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said.