Animal advocates unveil ‘Dog Rodeo’ campaignOctober 18th, 2017
Labour weekend, the start of the New Zealand rodeo season, will see calves, horses and bulls subjected to stress and fear in the name of entertainment. To coincide with the season’s start, SAFE has unveiled striking billboards and a hard-hitting video, with confronting images depicting dogs being roped around their necks.
Over the weekend, rodeos will be held in the Canterbury towns of Methven and Winchester.
“There would be overwhelming national outrage if dogs were treated the way farmed animals are,” says Mandy Carter, campaigns director. “However, this is exactly the type of brutal treatment calves will be subjected to at rodeos across New Zealand over the rodeo season. We aim to challenge the double-standards over animal treatment by showing what wouldn’t be allowed by law (dog roping), compared with animal cruelty that is still allowed (calf roping).”
As the web page Dogrodeo.co.nz explains, whilst dog roping doesn’t happen, something equally as abhorrent does – calf roping (also known as ‘rope and tie’). In calf roping, the young animal is forced to burst out of a chute at top speed, chased by a rider on horseback, only to be stopped short with a choking rope around their neck. The rider then dismounts, throws the calf to the ground and ties three legs together as quickly as possible.
“Every year, vulnerable young calves are put through this highly stressful ordeal for the sake of entertainment and ‘fun’ for rodeo participants,” says Ms Carter. “A peer reviewed study, funded by an Australian rodeo association, concluded that calf roping causes an acute stress response. In light of this and with animals being put at risk with every rodeo event, the government needs to urgently re-examine the issue of a rodeo ban.”
Previously unseen footage showing distressed calves, steers, bulls and horses at the Mataura and Southland rodeos provides more evidence that animal welfare is compromised each time a rodeo is held.
“Rodeo teaches people, especially impressionable children, that it’s OK to abuse animals for fun. We know there is a link between violence towards animals and violence towards people. There are many more positive ways to bring together local communities,” added Ms Carter.
In 2016, over 62,000 people signed a petition calling for a ban on rodeo and presented it to parliament. A Horizon poll also showed that 59% of Kiwis supported a ban on rodeo. Only 25% wanted this cruel entertainment to remain.
“Caring New Zealanders have spoken loud and clear. It’s time for this bullying of animals to be canned,” says Ms Carter.