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Rodeo Event Information

Attention Rodeo Stock Contractors, Promoters, and County Fair Boards

The Department of Agriculture does not license or permit rodeos or similar events. The provisions of the Humane Care for Animals Act (510 ILCS 70; "Act") apply to companion animals and livestock. It is the responsibility of event organizers, animal owners, and participants to be aware of practices and activities that may be considered violations of the Act. Violations of the Act are considered criminal offenses and are prosecuted by county state’s attorneys. The Department of Agriculture cannot pursue criminal charges and does not have criminal enforcement power.

The Act includes requirements relating to:

  • Availability of a sufficient quantity of fresh water
  • Adequate shelter and protection from the weather
  • No downed animals shall be sent to a rodeo nor should downed animals be allowed to participate in such event
  • Veterinary care must be provided to prevent suffering.
    • The Department encourages all events to maintain a relationship with a local veterinarian to ensure treatment is accessible in a timely manner.
  • All animals shall be provided humane care and treatment.
    • The Department encourages event participants to carefully consider the species, size, age and condition of an animal before its participation in an event to ensure that the event will be conducted humanely.

Additionally, the Illinois Equine Infectious Anemia Act (510 ILCS 65) requires that all horses over the age of 12 months:

  • entering Illinois must be accompanied by a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, issued within 30 days prior to arrival in Illinois, and have a negative official test for Equine Infections Anemia, conducted within one year prior to entry
  • that already reside in Illinois be accompanied by a negative official test for Equine Infections Anemia, conducted within one year. Horses not coming from outside the state do not have to have a CVI. 

It is the responsibility of each person associated with an event, including the animals’ owners/caretakers, to ensure compliance with all Illinois laws pertaining to animal health and welfare at all times.

If someone believes they have witnessed a violation of the Humane Care for Animals Act, that person should contact local law enforcement to make a report. Law enforcement, generally, can advise about how to get a copy of the report and or who a report-filer can follow up with later.  

The Department of Agriculture is a regulatory agency. Department staff will make best efforts to answer questions about laws and rules the Department enforces, but the Department is not able to provide guidance or advice about best practices regarding rodeo participation.