Animal rights group vows to pester Romney in Mass.

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Animal rights group vows to pester Romney on campaign trial

Associated Press

March 25, 2002

SALT LAKE CITY - The leader of an Illinois-based animal rights organization says Salt Lake City Olympic chief Mitt Romney can expect trouble from his group during the Massachusetts governor's race.

Steve Hindi said the group, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, will let Massachusetts voters know about Romney's handling of a rodeo that was part of the Winter Olympics' cultural program.

"There are a lot of people that care about animals in Massachusetts and all along the East Coast," Hindi said. "We will make them very well aware of Mr. Romney's record here."

Romney's record included an effort to eliminate calf roping, tail-pulling and electric prodding from the rodeo, but he was unable to persuade the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association to go along.

Hindi said he doesn't believe Romney pushed the issue aggressively enough. Romney has said he couldn't force revisions to the show contract with the cowboy association.

"He saw something that he thought was wrong and wanted it gone but then he never really forced the issue," Hindi said. "The contract was more important than cruelty to animals."

The Olympic rodeo drew protests by animal-rights advocates who said it compromised the Olympic ideals of peace and goodwill.

Romney was not available for comment. Shortly before the February games, he fired off two letters to the cowboy association asking it to drop the controversial parts of the rodeo.

Romney announced plans to run for Massachusetts governor on Tuesday only hours after Acting Gov. Jane Swift, a fellow Republican, pulled out of the race. He plans to step down from his Olympic post at an April 24 board meeting.
 

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