Special Detail Assigned to Watch Derby After Animal Protest ‘Cruelty’

PIONEERTOWN—When the 12th annual National Burro Derby gets under way here Thursday, a special detail of Humane Society officers will go along to insure that the animals are not mistreated.

Controversy developed over the three-day race this year after some animal lovers protested the derby on the grounds it was a form of cruelty to the wild burros.

Brutality Barred

Derby officials replied that their rules forbid any brutality or abuse of the animals such as lashing them with a rope or using any mechanical or electrical “gimmick” to spur them on.

Any wrangler violating the rules will be disqualified and fined, they say.

However, the wranglers are allowed to use food to entice the burros they lead by rope and halter along the trail which winds from this Yucca Valley community up the mountains to Big Bear. The animals and wranglers will be carted by truck part of the way.

The 60 burros entered in the derby have been inspected and pronounced in good condition by George M. Crosier, general manager of the Los Angeles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Southern California Humane Society, and Clyde F. Miles, chief investigator and state humane officer.

On Horseback

Miles, two of his staff and an officer from the Barstow United Humane Society will accompany the burros and wranglers, covering the field on horseback.

The national derby is cosponsored the Old Miners’ Assn. of Big Bear Lake and Pioneertown.

Its conclusion at Big Bear Lake is the climax of a two week western celebration by the mountain and desert communities.

The winning wrangler receives a $500 cash prize with lesser amounts to the next 10 finishers.

Aug. 3, 1965 - The Los Angeles Times article clipping