Imagine a young dog forced to run at high speed while being chased by a man on horseback. The crowd cheers. The puppy is then yanked to an abrupt halt and thrown to the ground where her legs are bound together. She is panicked, stressed, hurt and afraid.
Whilst this doesn’t happen in New Zealand, something equally as abhorrent does – calf roping (also known as ‘rope and tie’). Every year, vulnerable young calves are put through this ordeal for the sake of entertainment and ‘fun’ for rodeo participants.
If dogs were treated this way there would, quite rightly, be prosecutions. Yet, the same treatment of calves is applauded.
We challenge that by highlighting the double-standards over animal treatment – showing what would not be allowed by law (dog roping), compared with animal cruelty that is still allowed (calf roping).
Calf roping is one of the most brutal components of rodeo. Although dogs are not used, vulnerable young calves are instead subjected to this frightening experience.
A calf is forced to run at a speed of up to 35 kilometres per hour before being stopped mid-flight by a rope around their neck. The baby animal is then thrown to the ground where three legs are tied together.
After this terrifying experience some calves desperately struggle to get up. Others lie in a state of shock, the whites of their eyes showing their fear. Some calves bellow in distress.
A 2016 study conducted at the University of Queensland (funded by the Australian Rodeo Association) concluded that calf roping causes an “acute stress response”. In addition to stress, calf roping can cause injury and even death to these young victims.
This bullying of young animals is done purely for the entertainment of a minority.