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?