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Private prosecution underway following rodeo abuse

9 November 2018

SAFE is congratulating the New Zealand Animal Law Association (NZALA) for taking the first step towards private prosecution of a man who used an electric prodder on a calf during last year’s rodeo season, in a clear breach of the Rodeo Code of Welfare.

The prosecution was announced yesterday by the NZALA. The case stands on the fact it is illegal to use electric prodders on calves, however video footage clearly shows the man doing so at the Mid Northern Rodeo in 2017.

As part of their case, the NZALA will submit footage showing the man using an electric prodder on a calf confined in a chute.

SAFE’s Head of Campaigns, Marianne Macdonald, says it should be up to MPI to take animal abusers to court and applauds the NZALA for taking the case, when MPI failed to take this seriously.

“We fully support the private prosecution of these people who think it’s okay to abuse animals for fun. It’s another example of MPI failing in its job to protect animals in rodeos. Where MPI fails, other organisations are stepping up.”

“In addition to this breach of the Rodeo Code, all rodeo events go against New Zealand's Animal Welfare Act since they cause distress to the animals forced to perform. The cowboys’ association recently introduced new ‘suggested practices’, to make it appear they care about the wellbeing of the animals. But really they’re just scrambling to make changes now, as they see the writing is on the wall for an end to rodeo.”

This year’s rodeo season began on Labour weekend, with the Winchester Rodeo on October 20, and Methven Rodeo on October 21, where a horse died during a saddle bronc event.

“The Government’s advisors NAWAC recently produced a toothless report on rodeo which fails to implement any meaningful changes. Despite admitting that events such as calf roping and steer wrestling cause ‘substantial negative impacts’ on animals and that they had ‘serious concerns’ about the practices, they’ve not recommended any curbs on blatant bullying of animals.”

“We can only hope that the NZALA’s private prosecution is successful and that the man responsible for abusing this calf is held to account.”

“Ultimately, however, SAFE wants an end to Government-sanctioned animal abuse and is calling for a total ban on rodeo.”


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