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SPCA: “Rodeos Are Inherently Cruel To Animals”


For release: 19 November 2008



The Royal New Zealand SPCA has re-iterated its fundamental opposition to rodeo events, describing them as potentially cruel to animals often sending the wrong message, particularly to children, as to how animals should be treated.

Last weekend, the promoter of Christchurch's 'International Rodeo' cited an SPCA inspection as suggesting the Society approved of the event, an interpretation subsequently endorsed by the city's mayor, Bob Parker.

However, the SPCA points out, the inspection was merely aimed at monitoring compliance with the 1999 Animal Welfare Act and did not imply approval either of this particular event or of rodeos in general.

"While working with rodeo organisations in an endeavour to ameliorate some of the immediate concerns regarding animal welfare, the SPCA remains opposed to many aspects of the sport.

"Our stance on this issue remains clear and unaltered. We believe that some rodeo events are inherently cruel and that they subject many of the animals used in those events to totally unnecessary pain, fear and distress, "says the SPCA's National Chief Executive, Robyn Kippenberger.

"Calf-roping, in particular, subjects the young animals used to considerable stress and the likelihood of pain and injury. There is no way that the SPCA could possibly approve of this. Calf-roping and steer-wrestling were banned last year by a Canadian Rodeo organisation. We are working to achieve the same result in New Zealand

"It is our view that rodeos, in their present form, promote and instil values that run directly counter to the Animal Welfare Act and encourage the use of animals for entertainment.

"Key features of a rodeo centre intrinsically around displays of humans dominating animals. It is bad enough that adults should be encouraged to enjoy such scenes but totally wrong to expose children to them," she says.

Ms Kippenberger adds that there is an overwhelming body of evidence pointing to the connection between cruel and callous behaviour towards animals and violence towards our fellow humans.

"If we truly want a kinder, less violent and more responsible society, then a good place to start is by teaching our children to respect both humans and animals. Rodeos are, in many respects, contrary to this learning.

"The SPCA regards the existing legislation on this matter as wholly inadequate. We have always recommended that particular events in rodeos be banned at the earliest possible opportunity.

"However, as long these events remain legal, our inspectors will continue to monitor them and seek to minimise the suffering of the animals involved. We will also continue to talk to the rodeo associations to achieve better animal welfare for the animals involved. In no way should this be taken as an endorsement of rodeos in general," she says.


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