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New Years Eve confrontation

A confrontation has taken place between animal rights activists and rodeo cowboys at the gates to the Warkworth Showgrounds.

A group of approximately a dozen cowboys interrupted members of the vegan animal rights activist group the Gummy Bears while the activists were attaching large octagonal 'STOP RODEO' signs to a billboard advertising the 1 January Warkworth Rodeo.

"The cowboys took immediate exception to our actions, but we held our ground and finished attaching the signs," said activist Deno Stock. "One cowboy started approaching us in a highly agitated manner, with a second cowboy attempting to restrain him. We left in a hurry to avoid the situation escalating further," added Mr Stock.

The late-night anti-rodeo campaign was undertaken on 31 December in support of Direct Animal Action, who have protested against the rodeo each year since 2015. Two additional billboards advertising the rodeo were similarly targeted by the activists – one elsewhere in Warkworth and the other in Snells Beach. No confrontations took place at the other locations.

The Auckland City Council banned events showcasing animal cruelty in a full council resolution under John Banks’s mayoralty in 2008. The recently formed Auckland Council, which now includes the old Rodney District, was required to ‘have regard’ to the decisions of its predecessor, but has so far ignored it.

“We are asking the Auckland Council and the Rodney Local Board to respect the ruling made by the Auckland City Council,” says Gummy Bears spokesperson Dr Michael Morris. “New Zealand has banned animal circuses and dolphin shows. It is time that Auckland Council gets into the 21st century and realises that animal cruelty for entertainment has no place in this country.”

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