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60,000-strong ban rodeo petition to be handed in to parliament

March 17th, 2016

Today, leading animal advocacy organisations SAFE, SPCA and Farmwatch  will be outside Parliament to hand in their joint petition calling for  an end to rodeo. The petition will be handed to Green MP Mojo Mathers,  calling on the Government to make this the last ever rodeo season. The  petition has attracted over 60,000 signatures, a figure the groups say  demonstrates the strength of anti-rodeo feeling in New Zealand.

The call comes as the rodeo season draws to a close. The organisations  argue that rodeo is both unethical and inherently cruel, saying that  animals are routinely grabbed, chased, wrestled and roped in aggressive  displays and that they can sustain painful injuries. Two animals have  died during events in the New Zealand 2015-2016 rodeo season – a horse  in Te Anau and a bull in Richmond.

The three groups believe that causing animals to suffer for  entertainment is both unreasonable and unnecessary, and therefore rodeos  are in total contradiction of the requirements of New Zealand law.

Ric Odom, National Chief Executive of the SPCA, says, “The purpose of  the Animal Welfare Act 1999 is to protect every animal in New Zealand  from cruelty, yet rodeo animals are subjected to pain and suffering in  the name of entertainment. Rodeos are inherently cruel and completely  unnecessary for the animals. The SPCA believes that allowing rodeos is  like legalising animal cruelty – that’s why we want the law changed.”

“There are no two ways about it, rodeos cause animal suffering. Animals  are put under severe stress each time they enter the arena and are  forced to perform,” says SAFE Executive Director, Hans Kriek. “Unaware  that it is ‘just for entertainment’ some will genuinely fear for their  lives, and with good reason given recent deaths.” The Rodeo Code of  Welfare is, he says, already largely ineffective and regularly broken  and change needs to happen. “It’s time for the government to step up and  listen to what people are asking for. Rodeos serve no place in New  Zealand and are nothing short of abuse for people’s entertainment.”

Jasmine Gray, spokesperson for Farmwatch, says, “Our investigators have  witnessed animals collapse in chutes, young calves being chased and  thrown to the ground, and bulls getting their legs caught in poor arena  fencing. This is only some of the cruelty these animals experience  regularly. There is no excuse for this kind of treatment of animals and  we hope that a ban will be put in place.”

Rodeos are condemned by vets, welfare experts and animal protection  organisations worldwide. In New Zealand rodeo is banned from Auckland  Council land and SAFE, SPCA and Farmwatch say it is time the rest of the  country followed suit.

“People are tired of the excuses,” says Hans Kriek. “New Zealand is  getting left behind and our reputation as a nation of animal lovers is  in doubt. It’s time for rodeo to end, for good.”

 

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