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SAFE Zeroes In On Rodeo With A New Petition Launching Today

This Saturday, so-called ‘cowboys’ will put animals at risk of injury or death at the ‘Mad Bull’ rodeo in Otago and the WFL Bull Ride Martinborough. Two bulls were killed at the Mad Bull rodeo last year, and another was killed at the Martinborough bull ride in 2018.

The petition SAFE launches today demands a ban on the worst aspects of rodeo.

SAFE spokesperson Will Appelbe says rodeo events cause pain, fear and distress to animals.

"Every year, rodeo events cause torn ligaments, broken bones, bruising and internal damage," says Appelbe. "The injuries can be so severe that bulls and horses are killed."

The petition is aimed at the Minister responsible for animal welfare, Meka Whaitiri. In 2018, the Minister directed the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) to produce a report on rodeo.

The report said NAWAC had ‘serious concerns’ over the ‘substantial negative impacts’ on animals used in steer wrestling and calf roping. They also said that bucking events ‘have a variety of negative impacts’ on the horses, bulls and steers used.

"In 2017, the Labour Party promised to ban some of the worst aspects of rodeo. Voters have now given them a clear mandate, and action is long overdue," says Appelbe.

"Rodeos are inconsistent with Kiwi values. We encourage all New Zealanders to send a clear message to the Government by signing our petition."

SAFE is New Zealand’s leading animal rights organisation.

We're creating a future that ensures the rights of animals are respected. Our core work empowers society to make kinder choices for ourselves, animals and our planet.


- SAFE’s petition is calling on the Associate Minister of Agriculture (Animal Welfare) Hon Meka Whaitiri, on behalf of the House of Representatives, to prohibit the use of bucking (flank) straps, electric prods, tail twisting, spurs, animal wrestling, team roping and calves under 12 months old in New Zealand rodeo events.

- Footage from Methven and Winchester rodeos October 2020.

- Social Media video with text and music.

- Hi-res photos of rodeo cruelty.

- In 2018, the Government’s animal welfare advisors, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), published a report ‘ Rodeo events - How do they impact the sentient animal?

- The report said NAWAC had ‘serious concerns’ over the ‘substantial negative impacts’ on animals used in steer wrestling and calf roping. They also said that bucking events, which use horses, bulls and steers, ‘have a variety of negative impacts’ on the animals.

- Before the last election, Labour promised to end the use of calves under 12 months of age, bucking straps (also known as flank straps), electric prods and rope burning at rodeo events.

- More than half (59%) of the respondents in a Horizon Research survey said they would support a ban on using animals in rodeos in New Zealand.

- Two bulls were killed at Mad Bull rodeo events in November and December 2019. The first bull was killed after his back was injured, and the second after his leg was caught in a pen. Last year was the Mad Bull Rodeo Club’s first season. No investigation was made into the new club following these deaths.

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