PETA Asks ‘Yellowstone’ Star Kevin Costner to Step Down as 2022 Calgary Stampede Grand Marshal

by Jon D. B.

Days after his appointment as Calgary Stampede parade marshal, PETA has sent a letter to Kevin Costner “urging him to step down.”

On Yellowstone, Kevin Costner gives life to one of the most popular characters in modern American entertainment, John Dutton. A rancher by trade and inheritance, Costner’s patriarch is a hard-nosed, strong-willed cowboy who butts heads with PETA-esque organizations directly throughout Season 4.

This year, Costner will grand marshal Alberta’s iconic Calgary Stampede, granting the event perhaps its most famous face in a half-century. Having the figurehead of the most-watched show on television lead your event, however, comes with equal scrutiny.

Enter PETA, who is now asking Yellowstone‘s Kevin Costner to “step down” from the event. Their request comes two days after his appointment as parade marshal. In an email sent to Outsider, PETA cites the stampede “has reportedly caused the deaths of more than 70 animals… Including six during the last festival’s chuckwagon race alone, held in 2019.”

“Horses used in chuckwagon races have sustained fractured legs, broken backs, and heart attacks… Prompting outrage from animal protection organizations and residents across Canada,” the organization further states in their email. PETA’s motto states that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.”

The organization opposes what they refer to as speciesism, describing the belief as “a human-supremacist worldview.”

“Year after year, this reckless rodeo runs gentle horses to death,” adds PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA is calling on Kevin Costner to cut ties with the Calgary Stampede before it costs more animals’ lives.”

In their letter, PETA tells Costner that his “association with this show would encourage the carnage to continue.”

Within their request, PETA includes their full letter to Kevin Costner. Signed by Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman, it reads:

Dear Mr. Costner:

I’m writing on behalf of PETA, following news of your appointment as this year’s Calgary Stampede parade marshal, to urge you to step down in light of the egregious animal suffering and deaths associated with the event. More than 70 animals have been killed in the Stampede’s chuckwagon races so far, and your association with this show would encourage the carnage to continue.

During these reckless and dangerous races, teams of horses are forced to pull wagons around a track at breakneck speeds. Throughout the ordeal, they can be seen foaming at the mouth with their eyes rolling back in their heads. Many have sustained broken legs or backs or suffered heart attacks.

Nearly every year, at least one horse dies as a result of the Stampede’s chuckwagon races. In 2019, six horses died in one week—three in a scene so graphic that a tarp was used to hide it from public view.

Animal protection organizations across Canada as well as countless Canadian citizens have called for an end to the chuckwagon races at the Calgary Stampede. Will you please disassociate yourself from this deadly event immediately?

Thank you for your time and consideration of this important matter.


Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President

See Outsider’s original announcement for more on the Calgary Stampede and Kevin Costner’s involvement.