SAFE tar­gets South­land rodeos

Clutha Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MARY-JO TOHILL

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.

MARY-JO TOHILL/STUFF

Dean Hud­son of Wanaka com­pet­ing in the rope and tie event at the Lawrence Rodeo on Satur­day.

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