News Blog Articles Shocking new rodeo footage shows animals continue to suffer

Shocking new rodeo footage shows animals continue to suffer

January 23rd, 2017

New video evidence filmed at the Mid Northern rodeo in Whangarei this month demonstrates the brutality of rodeo events, says SAFE.  Animals were filmed clearly fearful and stressed, as well as being deliberately shocked with an electric prod. The investigation shows that animal welfare is severely compromised at rodeo events.

The footage, filmed by Anti-Rodeo Action NZ, includes:

  • A bull crawling on his knees, in a desperate attempt to get away from rodeo performers
  • A young calf being roughly flipped in mid-air and slammed to the ground as he is hooked around his hooves by a lasso during a calf roping event
  • Young calves being shocked with an electric prod while confined in a chute, a breach of the rodeo code of welfare
  • Horses slipping and falling
  • A rodeo performer roughly wrenching a calf’s leg and body in his attempt to tie the animal’s legs together
  • A horse frantically jumping up at a fence, attempting to escape from the pen where the animals are confined before entering the arena


The new footage shows that rodeo events are inhumane, says SAFE, with the incidents typifying the way animals are treated in rodeo and the stress they undergo in this unnatural, noisy environment. Rodeo events involve causing bulls and horses to buck with the use of tight flank straps, and wrestling steers to the ground by wrenching their heads around until they fall. Vulnerable calves are chased, wrenched off their feet by ropes, then have their legs tied together.

While the rodeo industry says it adheres to the Rodeo Code of Welfare, the code clearly gives scant protection to these animals. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) recently confirmed that seven rodeos were in breach of the Rodeo Code of Welfare in the 2014/2015 season, following filming by investigators.

“Again it has been left to volunteer investigators to document the suffering inflicted on animals for the sake of the entertainment of a minority,” says head of campaigns Mandy Carter. “If a dog running at speed was wrenched off her feet with a noose around her neck, causing her to slam into the ground on her back, it could lead to a prosecution for animal cruelty. Why is this brutality still being condoned by the government when it is inflicted on a calf?”

Rodeo is animal cruelty that the New Zealand government seemingly condones, after a select committee last year opted to put no restrictions on rodeo practices. This flies in the face of strong public opinion calling for an end to this bullying of animals, evidenced by the 62,000 people who signed for a rodeo ban. A recent Horizon poll showed that more than half (59%) of the respondents supported a ban on using animals in rodeos in New Zealand. Just 25% did not want to see rodeo banned.


“Rodeo is nothing more than a display of bullying animals for entertainment,” says Ms Carter. “Being prey animals, calves, bulls and horses are naturally wary and a rodeo environment can cause them severe distress.”

SAFE encourages people who want an end to the cruelty of rodeo to contact sponsors asking them to withdraw their support


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