The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE -

The death of a bull at a Wairarapa rodeo on Fri­day night will add fuel to the fire in the de­bate on whether the sport should be banned.

The bull was put down af­ter break­ing its leg at the Parklee Bull­ride in Mart­in­bor­ough. An animal rights group says it lay in the ring bel­low­ing for about 10 min­utes be­fore man­ag­ing to drag it­self off. It was eu­thanised on site.

Rodeo Cow­boys As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Lyal Cocks said the bull’s death was the re­sult of a ‘‘freak ac­ci­dent’’, which was re­gret­table but did not hap­pen very of­ten.

How­ever, the in­ci­dent will put a dent into a $25,000 cam­paign that rodeo sup­port­ers are run­ning this sum­mer to im­prove the sport’s im­age, fronted by lo­cal gov­ern­ment politi­cian and for­mer MP Michael Laws.

The SPCA has re­peat­edly called for a ban. But rodeo sup­port­ers some­times ar­gue that the con­cerns about their sport might also be ex­tended to oth­ers, such as horse rac­ing or har­ness rac­ing.

The dif­fer­ence with rodeo is that the events pit hu­mans against dis­tressed an­i­mals in an arena with the ex­pec­ta­tion that the hu­man will come out on top. Is this re­ally how we want to have fun in a sup­pos­edly civilised coun­try in the 21st cen­tury?

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