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Rodeo organisers refuse to follow recommended best practice

Information obtained by animal rights organisation SAFE has revealed rodeo organisers are refusing to halt calf-roping events in rodeo, despite the Government’s animal welfare advisors’ recommendation that they do so.

A 2018 report published by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) made a range of recommendations for rodeo events, including a voluntary phaseout of the calf-roping event. The rodeo code of welfare also states that calves should not be used in rodeos. SAFE has been reliably informed however that the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association (NZRCA) does not intend to stop using calves in rodeo.

SAFE spokesperson Will Appelbe says the rodeo ‘cowboys’ are paying lip service to animal welfare.

"NAWAC’s 2018 rodeo report states it has serious concerns with the use of calves in rodeo, specifically in calf rope and tie events," says Appelbe.

"NAWAC, the Government’s advisors on animal welfare, have long held the view that calves should not be used in rodeos. The NZRCA has continued to ignore these recommendations. Any other changes are just tinkering around the edges. This goes to show the Association is incapable of self-regulation."

There is a desire within the wider rodeo community to remove calf rope and tie events from rodeo. At the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association AGM in July, representatives from associated rodeo clubs moved to make the event optional due to public backlash and animal welfare concerns. They lost the remit, however.

"The reality is all animals used in rodeo are treated appallingly. Horses, bulls and calves are all bullied and tormented purely so a few people can play ‘cowboy’ for the day."

"These normally docile animals are riled up and abused to force them to perform the way the ‘cowboys’ want them to. What you’re seeing in rodeo is terrified animals trying to escape."

"New Zealand is better than this. We’re a country of animal lovers, and it’s time the Government made this Aotearoa’s last rodeo season."


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