Sheryl Crow, hailed as a champion of wild horses that roam the range in the U.S. West, has been criticized by a national animal rights group that is calling her a hypocrite for performing at a Wyoming rodeo.
The "All I Wanna Do" singer planned to donate a portion of the proceeds from her July 22 concert at the Cheyenne Frontier Days to a wild-horse protection group that's suing the government to try to halt a big mustang roundup in Nevada. Crow is the opening act for Kid Rock on a summer tour that includes the Wyoming gig.
But Showing Animals Respect and Kindness claimed that wild horses are abused at that event in a special race just for them.
"How can an organization dedicated to helping wild horses take blood money that was based, in part, on abusing wild horses? We believe what Ms. Crow is doing is nothing but PR spin," said Stuart Chaifetz, a spokesman for the Illinois-based group.
The group, also known as SHARK, called on the Cloud Foundation to reject the donation.
Ginger Kathrens, executive director of the Colorado-based group, said she and other activists consider Crow a true champion of wild horses. Crow has adopted a wild horse and contributed time and money to the cause of keeping them on public lands, she said.
SHARK's criticism is unjustified because rodeos are prohibited under the 1971 federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act from using mustangs removed from the range by the government, Kathrens added.
"I think it's important for people to know the wild horse act prohibits the activity they're concerned about," Kathrens told The Associated Press. "They are not using wild horses off our ranges in that race."
A spokesman for Crow agent John Marx at the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills, Calif., referred inquiries to Crow's publicist, who did not respond to an email. In a statement issued on her website last week, Crow said she was aware of "the contrasting and very passionate opinions that people have about this event and rodeos in general."
She said she was making the donation "in recognition of these differences and out of my love for wild horses."
Chaifetz said Crow only decided to make the donation after its protests over her involvement at the rodeo.
He said SHARK helped coordinate a June 24 protest at a Crow book-signing in Salt Lake City at which activists showed up with a banner reading, "Sheryl Crow: Betrayer of Horses."
The Cloud Foundation is trying to win an emergency injunction to block the federal Bureau of Land Management's roundup of 1,700 mustangs scheduled to begin this weekend along the Nevada-Utah line.
A hearing on the request is scheduled Thursday in U.S. District Court in Reno.