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We’re Kiwis, Not Cowboys: SAFE Renews Calls For A Ban On Rodeo Ahead Of Summer Season

Every summer, countless animals are subjected to fear, stress, risk of injury and death - all for the sake of ‘entertainment.’ Ahead of this weekend's season opening, SAFE is calling for an end to rodeo in Aotearoa.

Around 35 rodeos take place in New Zealand each year, many including activities such as calf roping, bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, team roping, saddle bronc riding and bull riding. Most of these activities involve conduct that causes animals pain and distress.

Animals used in rodeo can suffer from both physical injuries and psychological stress. Physical injuries can include broken bones from roping or bucking during riding, or bruising and ruptured skin from the use of spurs and ropes.

SAFE CEO Debra Ashton said there’s no place for rodeo in modern New Zealand.

"Every year, young calves, bulls and horses are bullied, abused and killed by so-called cowboys, all for the entertainment of a minority."

Earlier this year, the New Zealand Animal Law Association and SAFE challenged the legality of rodeo at the High Court. The Judge found errors and procedural defects in the Government's process when reissuing the rodeo of code of welfare, and sent the issue back to NAWAC, who is expected to run a consultation process soon.

"It's taken far too long for NAWAC to review the code of welfare for rodeo. Thousands of animals suffer each summer at these events, and ultimately, the only way to protect animals is to ban rodeo."

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New Zealanders appear to largely agree. A Horizon Research opinion poll, commissioned by SAFE in June 2020, illustrated a majority of kiwis support a ban on rodeo cruelty.

When respondents were asked if they agreed with the statement that "Rodeo causes pain and suffering to animals, and it is not worth causing this pain and suffering for the sake of entertainment," 66 per cent agreed.

"We’re a nation of animal lovers. And most people agree that we shouldn’t treat animals this way. Successive Governments have ignored the issue of rodeo, and a ban is well overdue," Ashton said.

"There’s nothing kiwi about taking the family to watch animals suffer and die for 'entertainment.'"

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