There has been a heated controversy over a Texas rodeo act called The All-American High Diving Aqua Mules. These high-diving miniature mules, Dipsy Doodle, Smokey and Ingrid, step off a 24-foot-high platform into a six-foot-deep pool at Lightning Ranch in South Texas.
Animal activists call this animal cruelty because the mules are old, ranging from 16 to 22-years-old. They want the act to be shut down. Activists said that it isn’t natural for mules to jump off a platform into water, and they are worried about their safety.
After looking at evidence of the diving mules, an investigator for the Bandera County Sheriff’s Office found that the mules used in these high-diving acts were not treated cruelly.
Deputy Shane Merritt said there was no animal cruelty because the mules are not prodded to walk off of the platform into the pool. He also added that these mules have been doing this for years as part of a traveling road show.
Bill Rivers, the owner of the All American High-Diving Mules said the mules are willing to do it and like diving. He added: “If they didn’t … People need to stop and think. We need to give the animals a little bit of credit for being intelligent.”
Rivers’s father started the act in the 1950s when he saw horses diving off of Atlantic City’s Steel Pier. The mules used to perform in county fairs, but due to the controversy, now they only perform at the ranch.
Rivers said that none of the mules have ever been hurt during the act. He said people should see the act before judging it.