Rodeo in Brazil is a balancing act between tradition and business. Its stars are the riders, mounted on specially bred fighting bulls. But animal rights activists are sounding the alarm because the bulls often face abuse, injury and death.
Paulo Emilio walks across the huge festival grounds in Fernandopolis near São Paulo. One of the bosses of Brazilian rodeo, he owns several cattle breeding farms and dozens of prize-winning competition bulls. Paulo’s success is no coincidence: He has his best bulls cloned through in-vitro fertilization. He leaves nothing to chance, because the traditional rodeo has grown into a mass spectacle in recent years, complete with pop stars and a huge livestock market. Rodeo fans from all over Brazil flock to Fernandopolis to see stars like Fernando Henrique Novais, one of the best rodeo riders in the world. After the tournament, he goes his family, which not only admires him, but also realizes what a huge, garish business the traditional rodeo has turned into. And apart from all the hype, critical voices are getting louder and louder. Now the Fórum Animal organization has taken up arms against the competitions.