News Blog Articles Spotlight on calf riding cruelty

Spotlight on calf riding cruelty

September 9th, 2019

Putting any animal through stress, and  potentially fear and injury is wrong, especially when it’s in the name  of so-called entertainment. While all rodeo events can cause distress to  the animals made to perform, the case against rodeo is particularly  strong when it comes to the brutal treatment of vulnerable young calves.

SAFE has produced a new video highlighting one event taking place at rodeos across New Zealand, calf riding, which  involves a calf as young as 12-weeks old being forced into the ring  with a child on their back. The calves are often clearly showing signs  of distress and do not want to leave the enclosure called the bucking  chute. As with adult horses and bulls, a flank strap is pulled tightly  around the calf’s sensitive organs which makes them buck unnaturally  when released from the chute. Spurs may also be used to encourage these  baby animals to buck more vigorously.

If the child sits too far forward on the calf, the animal’s front  legs can buckle so he or she collapses on the ground. According to New  Zealand’s weak rodeo regulations, this is not supposed to be allowed,  but is regularly witnessed.

Previously sheep riding events, also called ‘mutton busting’, were  held for younger children to participate in. However the latter were  prohibited in the 2014 Rodeo Code because of the risk of injury to the  sheep and concerns that sheep could overheat because of their woollen  coats.

Calves also suffer in calf roping events where they are chased at high speed, wrenched to a halt with a choking  rope around the neck, then thrown to the ground where their legs are  tied together. A recent study concluded that calf roping causes an “acute stress response” in these young animals.

NAWAC, (the body who reviews animal treatment in NZ and formulates rules on animal welfare) in the Rodeo Code of Welfare, says is it best practice that calves are not used in rodeo events.

At the government level, Green Party policy in the run up to the  election was for a complete ban on rodeo, with their animal welfare  spokesperson Gareth Hughes saying recently, “Rodeo belongs in the  history books, not in modern New Zealand.” Labour’s pre-election  commitment was to “ban the use of animals under 12 months, flank straps,  rope burning and the use of electronic prods.” Labour policy, when  enacted, will mean an end to both calf riding and calf roping, as the  first step towards a full ban on rodeo.

Please join us in showing our new government that urgent action on rodeo cru


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