Com­pa­nies pull rodeo spon­sor­ship

The Timaru Herald - - FASHION&BEAUTY - CHLOE WIN­TER

Supermarket gi­ant Food­stuffs is the lat­est large com­pany to can­cel its spon­sor­ship of rodeos amid calls to band the con­tro­ver­sial sport.

Food­stuffs, a co-op­er­a­tive that owns the Pak’n Save and New World supermarket brands, is fol­low­ing many com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing LJ Hooker New Zealand, Sad­dlery Ware­house, Stuff, Merid­ian En­ergy, House of Travel, Bay­leys, and Har­courts, that have with­drawn spon­sor­ship in the wake of an­i­mal cru­elty claims by ad­vo­cacy groups.

An­i­mal wel­fare group Safe’s cam­paigns di­rec­tor, Mandy Carter, said busi­nesses no longer wanted to be aligned with the bul­ly­ing of an­i­mals ‘‘for the fun of th­ese pseudo cow­boys’’.

‘‘When they learn of the cru­elty in­volved in rodeo, we’ve found many spon­sors drop­ping their in­volve­ment,’’ Carter said.

‘‘We con­grat­u­late those com­pa­nies who have turned their back on rodeo, and en­cour­age the few re­main­ing spon­sors to fol­low this com­pas­sion­ate lead and in­stead sup­port pos­i­tive com­mu­nity events.’’

New Zealand Rodeo and Cow­boys As­so­ci­a­tion spokesman Michael Laws said rodeo spon­sors had been bul­lied and ha­rassed by an­i­mal ac­tivists.

‘‘That’s un­for­tu­nate, but our spon­sors have been ex­cep­tional in dis­re­gard­ing such.’’

Laws said he had not no­ticed a ‘‘sig­nif­i­cant de­cline in spon­sor­ship’’ this sea­son.

‘‘We have noted that a cou­ple have with­drawn but that would be part and par­cel of any or­gan­i­sa­tion. I’m only aware of two with­drawals this sea­son, and one [Lions NZ] wasn’t a spon­sor but a vol­un­tary or­gan­i­sa­tion, and yet lo­cal Lions chap­ters have con­tin­ued to as­sist lo­cal rodeo clubs this sea­son.’’

Laws would not pro­vide a list of cur­rent spon­sors as ‘‘that would be invit­ing mis­chief’’, he said.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Safe, a num­ber of large com­pa­nies still spon­sor some rodeo events, in­clud­ing Ful­ton Ho­gan.

When asked about the com­pany’s in­volve­ment, a Ful­ton Ho­gan spokes­woman said: ‘‘Our po­si­tion on this is that we are de­clin­ing to com­ment.’’ She did not con­firm, nor deny, the com­pany still spon­sored rodeo events.

Food­stuffs spokes­woman An­toinette Laird said ‘‘a cou­ple’’ of owner-op­er­ated stores that sup­ported rodeos were no longer do­ing so.

‘‘The busi­ness made a de­ci­sion some time ago that this was not the right type of spon­sor­ship op­por­tu­nity for our brands.’’

Laird would not say which stores spon­sored the events, for how long, or when the de­ci­sion was made to can­cel the spon­sor­ship.

Petrol com­pany Z En­ergy has also pulled its sup­port for rodeos.

A Z ser­vice sta­tion that did sup­port a lo­cal rodeo last year was asked to stop any sort of sup­port for rodeo, a spokes­woman said.

‘‘This sit­u­a­tion made us re­alise we needed to pro­vide clearer guide­lines around what we ex­pect our re­tail­ers to use ei­ther Z’s money or their own funds un­der the Z brand to sup­port,’’ she said.

As a re­sult, the com­pany made it clear to all ser­vice sta­tions that spon­sor­ing rodeo was ‘‘not ac­cept­able’’, she said.

‘‘Z has strong val­ues around an­i­mal rights and rodeo doesn’t align with th­ese.

‘‘[It] is not some­thing we sup­port as a com­pany.’’

Stuff spokes­woman Phillipa Cameron said the me­dia com­pany had spon­sored rodeo events in the past, but no longer did so.

‘‘Re­cently, we iden­ti­fied our logo had been used on a rodeo event. This oc­curred as a re­sult of in­ter­nal pro­cesses not be­ing fol­lowed.’’

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