Start of Rodeo Season Met with Protest & Accusations
Start of Rodeo Season Met with Protest & Accusations of Animal Cruelty
The New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association has promised ‘significant’ animal welfare changes this season, but they still haven’t been able to buck accusations of cruelty from animal advocates.
Today marked the beginning of the rodeo season. The Animal Justice League NZ says rodeo is inherently cruel and wants to see it banned. The group held a peaceful protest outside the Winchester Rodeo today where over twenty people, who travelled from Christchurch attended and held placards directed at Jacinda Adern, asking her to ban rodeos in NZ.
The group also claims to have seen evidence of cruelty at the launch of the season in the Winchester Rodeo.
“We saw horses falling, brutal calf roping, and horses so frightened they tried to climb out of the chutes. When the organisers saw we were recording the abuse, we got kicked out. It seems their new rules are about protecting their image, not the animals,” stated Animal Justice League NZ Representative Tara Jackson.
“Don’t be fooled by the new rules in rodeo. Minister Damien O’Connor used to be a rodeo participant himself and his officials have decided to let these abusers self-regulate,” added Miss Jackson.
Before the election, the Labour Party promised a separate Minister for Animals and to ban several rodeo practices, including flank straps and the use of young animals.
“All progress for animals stopped when the animal welfare portfolio was given back to Damien O’Connor. We now see an ex-rodeo rider letting rodeo organisers write their own rules,” said Miss Jackson.
The Labour Party has kept the role of animal welfare spokesperson separate from the primary production role since 2014, but merged the portfolios after the removal of Meka Whaitiri earlier this year.
“It is an outrageous conflict of interest to allow Damien O’Connor, an ex-farmer and rodeo rider, to oversee animal welfare law. We are going over his head and asking Jacinda Ardern to have some compassion for the animals.”
The Animal Justice League is calling for concerned members of the public to contact Jacinda Ardern directly. She can be emailed on Jacinda.Ardern@parliament.govt.nz
 Stated by Damien O’Connor while he was a member of the Primary Production Select Committee during a rodeo review in 2016.
 As stated in an email from the Labour Party pre-election.