SAFE targets Southland rodeos
The Lawrence Rodeo was not targeted by protesters last Saturday, with animal-welfare group SAFE focusing on the upcoming Southland and Mataura rodeos.
The anti-rodeo group recently released video footage from last year’s events showing horses, young calves and bulls in apparent distress.
In a statement on Tuesday, the group said it was concerned that ‘‘animals will again be tormented and put at risk of injury, purely for entertainment’’, SAFE campaigns manager Marianne Macdonald said.
‘‘Rodeo events cause suffering for all the animals involved, especially the calves that are roped and ridden. Young calves are used in brutal ‘rope and tie’ or ‘calf roping’ events, a euphemistic label that hides the stress caused to these calves.’’
SAFE asked ‘‘concerned people’’ to email the Prime Minister asking for a rodeo ban and for Southland residents to avoid the rodeos.
The NZ Rodeo Cowboys Association would not be dropping calf roping events, president Lyal Cocks said.
However, the organisation may look at a qualifying requirement to compete in the calf rope and tie event and the equipment used, ‘‘so that we continue to achieve, and where possible exceed the animal welfare standards’’.
In an interview with the Clutha Leader at the Lawrence Rodeo on Saturday, he referred to an earlier incident where a calf was jerked off its feet, flipped over in the air and hit the ground.
The competitor was disqualified, the calf uninjured and left the arena unassisted.
It ‘‘doesn’t look good’’ for the sport of rodeo when this happened, Cocks said. It was ‘‘all to do with technique’’.
‘‘When we look at the sheets, and if a name does keep coming up [as being disqualified] we do take notice.’’
Rope and tie schools were run so that competitors could learn proper technique, he said.
Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker, who opened the Lawrence Rodeo, said he had spoken to SPCA staff on Saturday, who were ‘‘very happy’’ with the welfare of the animals at the event. Also present, Lawrence-based New Zealand First MP Mark Patterson said he had also received ‘‘very positive feedback’’.
They would be reporting back to Parliament.
Dean Hudson of Wanaka competing in the rope and tie event at the Lawrence Rodeo on Saturday.