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Animal cruelty on the agenda at national final rodeo

Animal cruelty on the agenda again next weekend at the national final rodeo in Wanaka

SAFE is concerned that animals will again be tormented and put at risk of injury, purely for entertainment at the national final rodeo next weekend.

This season anti-rodeo sentiment is heating up. The recent death of a bull after his leg was broken at the Martinborough rodeo, has created widespread public outrage. Protests have been held outside many events including the Outram, Canterbury, Taupo and Warkworth rodeos.

“Rodeo events cause suffering for all the animals involved, especially the calves that are roped and ridden. Young calves are used in brutal ‘rope and tie’ or ‘calf roping’ events, a euphemistic label that hides the stress caused to these calves,” says SAFE campaigns manager Marianne Macdonald. “Vulnerable young calves are wrenched off their feet, thrown to the ground and have their legs tied together. To be singled out and chased is terrifying for a herd animal. Obvious signs of stress such as bellowing, showing the whites of their eyes, their tongue hanging out and panting, are all quite common.”

“Science shows that rodeo has a harmful effect on young animals when they are roped.

The most robust study on calf roping to date was not taken into account when the government select committee reviewed rodeo cruelty last year. Funded by an Australian rodeo association, the 2016 study concluded that calf roping causes an ‘acute stress response’. Young animals are being bullied for entertainment, and even when calves survive without physical injury, they have been put through emotional trauma,” added Ms Macdonald.

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

“New Zealand’s code of welfare for rodeo is very weak legislation which allows animals to be subjected to unnecessary stress and risk of injury. Additionally, the meagre regulations in the code are often not enforced and it is left up to volunteer investigators to monitor and report breaches of the law,” added Ms Macdonald.

“Just as our society is trying to stamp out bullying to young people, caring Kiwis also want an end to the bullying of animals,” says Ms Macdonald. “Rodeo’s time is up. This cruelty will soon be consigned to the history books.”

SAFE asks concerned people to email the Prime Minister asking for a rodeo ban and for Wanaka residents to avoid the rodeo.


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