Call to ban rodeos falls on deaf ears at coun­cil

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

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.

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