Call to ban rodeos falls on deaf ears at council
A psychotherapist’s pleas for city law-makers to put a stop to rodeos have fallen on deaf ears.
Lynn Charleton of Western Springs has spent the past two years investigating the New Zealand rodeo industry and the conditions animals live and perform in.
‘‘At rodeo animals are routinely terrified and abused. This is no exaggeration. Bucking animals are not bucking for joy. They are going beserk. Horses and bulls have been placed in pens or chutes, sometimes with the aid of electric prod.’’
The former Auckland City Council was the first council in New Zealand to ban rodeo events on public land in 2008.
But council officers revealed on Tuesday morning the Auckland city ban was superseded by the council’s new events policy, brought in last year.
Charleton took her concerns to Auckland Council’s regulatory and bylaws committee.
The quiet removal of the ban implies the council ‘‘essentially supports the parade of animal torture that is rodeo’’, she says.
‘‘Internationally, and in New Zealand, animal advocacy groups all condemn rodeo for very good reason. Council should not be supporting animal abuse by permitting rodeo on council or public land,’’ she says.
Auckland’s only annual rodeo is held in Warkworth.
The treatment of animals in rodeos is nationally controlled under the Animal Welfare (Rodeos) Code of Welfare 2003 and the more general Animal Welfare Act 1999.
Albert-Eden-Roskill councillor Cathy Casey says no-one knew the ban was wiped and questions why it was not publicised.
A council officer says the legacy rodeo ban was consulted on by the arts, culture and events committee before the new events policy was signed off.
But Casey disputes that, saying during her time on the events panel the ban’s expiry was never brought up.
‘‘[The ban] was one Auckland City Council was lauded for across New Zealand. It was the first council ever to ban rodeo from public land and I’m proud of that decision.
‘‘It’s too important just to be wiped overnight.’’
Committee chairman Calum Penrose says the legacy ban was not a bylaw and the council now has no power to regulate animal welfare.
The regulatory and bylaws committee voted against taking further action to reinstate the legacy rodeo ban.