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Animal advocates unveil 'dog rodeo' campaign


18 October 2017

Animal advocates unveil 'dog rodeo' campaign


Labour weekend, the start of the New Zealand rodeo season, will see calves, horses and bulls subjected to stress and fear in the name of entertainment. To coincide with the season’s start, SAFE has unveiled striking billboards and a hard-hitting video, with confronting images depicting dogs being roped around their necks.

Over the weekend, rodeos will be held in the Canterbury towns of Methven and Winchester.

“There would be overwhelming national outrage if dogs were treated the way farmed animals are,” says Mandy Carter, campaigns director. “However, this is exactly the type of brutal treatment calves will be subjected to at rodeos across New Zealand over the rodeo season. We aim to challenge the double-standards over animal treatment by showing what wouldn’t be allowed by law (dog roping), compared with animal cruelty that is still allowed (calf roping).”

As the web page Dogrodeo.co.nz explains, whilst dog roping doesn’t happen, something equally as abhorrent does – calf roping (also known as ‘rope and tie’). In calf roping, the young animal is forced to burst out of a chute at top speed, chased by a rider on horseback, only to be stopped short with a choking rope around their neck. The rider then dismounts, throws the calf to the ground and ties three legs together as quickly as possible.

“Every year, vulnerable young calves are put through this highly stressful ordeal for the sake of entertainment and ‘fun’ for rodeo participants,” says Ms Carter. “A peer reviewed study, funded by an Australian rodeo association, concluded that calf roping causes an acute stress response. In light of this and with animals being put at risk with every rodeo event, the government needs to urgently re-examine the issue of a rodeo ban.”

Previously unseen footage showing distressed calves, steers, bulls and horses at the Mataura and Southland rodeos provides more evidence that animal welfare is compromised each time a rodeo is held.

“Rodeo teaches people, especially impressionable children, that it’s OK to abuse animals for fun. We know there is a link between violence towards animals and violence towards people. There are many more positive ways to bring together local communities,” added Ms Carter.

In 2016, over 62,000 people signed a petition calling for a ban on rodeo and presented it to parliament. A Horizon poll also showed that 59% of Kiwis supported a ban on rodeo. Only 25% wanted this cruel entertainment to remain.

“Caring New Zealanders have spoken loud and clear. It’s time for this bullying of animals to be canned,” says Ms Carter.

Contact


Mandy Carter, SAFE Campaigns Director, 021 242 2927


For the Editor


Dog roping video

Dog roping billboard

Video and high-resolution photos of calf roping are available.

Unseen footage filmed by Farmwatch during the 2016-2017 rodeo season:

Mataura Rodeo shows:

• A bull with a bleeding nose, then butting a horse

• A horse with its leg caught in the railings of the chute

• Calves being ridden, falling on their knees

• Calves being roped, somersaulting through the air

• Steers with their necks being twisted right around

• Horses falling, one collapsed on its side


Southland Rodeo shows:

• Rubbing dirt in a bull’s face. Investigators reported that it appears rodeo participants were doing so to try to goad the bull or to get him to stand up.

• A horse falling then continuing to buck despite no-one being on its back, due to the irritation of the tight flank strap

• A bull falling over on his neck, then stumbling away

• Many distressed animals in the chutes

• A bull being shocked with an electric prod

Calf Roping study
"Behavioral and Physiological Responses of Calves to Marshalling and Roping in a Simulated Rodeo Event". Published by the Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics of the University of Queensland

Information on calf roping is here.

New Zealand’s National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (the government’s body who review animal treatment in NZ and formulate rules on animal welfare) says they have serious concerns regarding calf roping. According to the 2014 Code of Welfare (page 16), the “Recommended Best Practice [is that] d) Calves should not be used in rodeo events”.

The Horizon Research Poll results were made public in August 2016.

The petition that was handed to parliament in March 2016 was signed by over 62,000 people.

Calf roping is already banned in Victoria and South Australia, Brazil, Germany and Vancouver (Canada), the UK, and parts of the US.

Condemned by vets, welfare experts and animal protection organisations worldwide, rodeo has been banned in parts of Europe, Australia, Brazil, Canada and the U.S. There is also a partial ban in the U.K. Rodeo is prohibited on Auckland Council land.

The SPCA has a policy against all rodeo events.

ends

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