Death leads to more calls for an end to rodeo

File Photo.

SAFE is appalled that a horse has been killed at the Methven rodeo yesterday and that animals continue to be put at risk at rodeo events to provide fun for a minority.

SAFE’s Head of Campaigns Marianne Macdonald says that while details are still scarce over what happened to this horse, rodeo inherently endangers animals and is barbaric.


“Even when animals aren’t injured or killed, they are caused distress. Horses are forced into wildly bucking by tight, irritating flank straps and spurs dug into their sides. These are docile animals the rodeo cowboys rile up into performing.”

This is the first weekend of the rodeo season and comes soon after the Rodeo Cowboys Association announced new “suggested practises”.

“The cowboys are scrambling to appear as if they care about animal welfare, but it’s impossible to create meaningful rules around what are essentially practises that bully animals.”

On Monday the Government’s advisory body the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) put out a report on rodeo, which suggested setting up a “rodeo animal welfare forum” comprising of rodeo participants, and “animal welfare officers” chosen by the rodeo organisers.

“The forum suggested by NAWAC would just be rodeo supporters monitoring rodeo – and we’ve seen how much animal suffering the cowboys already think is acceptable for their fun. Despite NAWAC saying that calf roping and steer wrestling cause “substantial negative impacts” on animals, the toothless report didn’t even recommend stopping these events,” says Marianne.

Hidden camera footage from the Warkworth Rodeo earlier this year, released this week, shows rodeo animal handlers’ rough treatment of animals during the event.

“The footage shows the rough treatment these vulnerable animals receive in the chutes, before being forced into the ring. The filming bans that are becoming increasingly widespread at rodeos clearly show they have something to hide,” says Marianne.

“It’s clear that every time a rodeo takes place, animals will suffer. It’s time our Government puts animal welfare seriously and ends this abuse.”

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