Rodeo spokesperson misleads to defend cruelty

The strength of public feeling against rodeo is escalating. Recent months have seen protests up and down the country, numerous media stories and a surge of outrage on social media, all speaking out on the distress caused to animals by rodeo cowboys.

This season, the cowboys have engaged the services of Michael Laws - who has his own PR company – to defend the indefensible practices of rodeo.

Laws himself has been quoted in a number of media stories, but most recently was interviewed by Kim Hill on National Radio.
He was asked:

Kim Hill: “Did the national animal welfare advisory body – NAWAC - did it not recommend that calves should not be used in rodeo events?

Michael Laws: “No!”

Kim Hill: “Never?”

Michael Laws: “No.”

This is blatantly false. On page 10 of the rodeo code of welfare, the recommended best practice says, “Calves should not be used in rodeo events.”

Additionally, in the report accompanying the rodeo code (section 17a) it says, “NAWAC does continue to have reservations about the performance of rodeos, and in particular, the events using younger animals.”

Laws has also made misleading, or misinformed, statements in previous interviews. For example, he has repeatedly referred to a 2016 calf roping study funded by an Australian rodeo association. He leads people to believe that the study found nothing wrong with calf roping. He neglects to mention that the study concluded that calf roping causes an “acute stress response”.

Causing stress to baby animals for entertainment is wrong.

It is just a matter of time before rodeo is banned in New Zealand. As these cruel events are increasingly under the spotlight and the swell of public opinion gets stronger week by week, the cowboys are getting more desperate. They will seemingly say anything to bolster up their tarnished image. Don’t get roped in by their lies.

Take action 

9 February 2018

New Zealand Rodeo Code Of Welfare