Group appeals for DCC rodeo ban

Carl Scott
Carl Scott
The International Rodeo could be barred from returning to Forsyth Barr Stadium if the Dunedin City Council agrees to a plea from animal rights group Safe.

The group's Dunedin co-ordinator, Carl Scott, yesterday petitioned the council to follow the Auckland council's lead and ban rodeos from all council-owned land and facilities.

Mr Scott told councillors at yesterday's public forum rodeos were cruel and brutal ''displays of dominance'' that left animals terrified and, in some cases, injured or needing to be euthanised.

The ''barbaric spectacle'' was all in the name of entertainment, but was ''not fair'' for the animals involved, he believed.

''There's nowhere to run to. Just pain, fear and confusion. How could you not be terrified?''Rodeos had been banned in other places, including parts of the United States and on publicly owned land in Auckland. Circuses featuring exotic animals had been banned from council land in Dunedin, he told councillors.

That ban should be extended to include rodeos, and was a movethat would win public support, he argued.

''I think there will be very few people who will disapprove of a ban,'' he said.

Mr Scott's plea came after he led a campaign by Safe (Save Animals From Exploitation), calling for members of the public to boycott the International Rodeo which was held at the stadium on November 17 last year.

However, the rodeo's production manager, Fred Doherty, said at that time no participants or animals had been involved in accidents during the five years the rodeo had been running.

New Zealand rodeos followed the National Animal Advisory Committee guidelines, and all animals werechecked by veterinarians before and after rodeos, he said.

A opinion piece by Mr Scott arguing against the rodeo, publishedin the Otago Daily Times days before the event, also drew a rebuttalfrom United States rodeo announcer Kedo Olson, who argued the animals involved were athletes and well cared for.

The event drew a crowd of 7500 people - about half that hoped for - but organisers had indicated the rodeo was profitable and could return to Dunedin.

No animals or riders were injured during the event, Mr Doherty said.

However, Mr Scott told councillors yesterday that, without a ban,the organisers would face ''continued and increased opposition from us''.

Cr Fliss Butcher praised Mr Scott's plea, and said she was ''100% with you'', but Cr Kate Wilson questioned why rodeos - and not equestrian or greyhound racing - were being targeted.

Mr Scott said that reflected limited resources, but other groups were focused on other areas of animal welfare concern.

''This is just something that's happening in our town at this time,'' he said.

Cr Teresa Stevenson said she wanted a report from council staff on the pros and cons of any ban, which could be ''interesting''.

Mayor Dave Cull said there appeared to be ''a number of councillors around the table'' who would support a ban, but suggested any councillor who was interested in such a move should bring the matter to a council committee for further consideration.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

Wrong end of the stick.

Read the comments more carefully chirpbird. I don't accuse anyone of using power over me, and do not I make conjectures about Mr Scott's personality. He is indeed a vegan according to his previous comment. He is also an activist who claims to represent the opinion of the majority which is doubtful, although I can speak for the majority no more than he can.

However my way of thinking is that most people are not vegan or even vegetarian and therefore are not likely against the farming practises such as tailing, castration, birthing, de-horning etc. Logic would follow that they therefore can't be against rodeo as it is less painful than these other farming operations, and unlike the other operations it involves vet checks.

Mr Scott is welcome to have his culture, lifestyle and opinions, and so are the rural communities around New Zealand. 

Point?

Hi again sv3nn0.
I'm sorry, but I honestly don't know which point you are referring to. I thought I had addressed your last comment. ie. about groups affected.

I can appreciate that banning rodeos will affect those who are rodeo fans adversely. And I can honestly sympathise with them. I would not like my favourite leisure activities to be interfered with. But I feel a far greater sympathy for the horses, bulls, and steers involved.

Helping be a voice for the voiceless is something I feel very passionate about, and so from time to time, I choose to speak up on behalf of abused or suffering animals. It's not about me blowing my own horn. It's simply about helping those who need help.

And it's not my will that I am trying to bend people to. It is the will of thousands of ordinary kiwis that the other animal species of this country should be getting a better deal. Whether that be animals abused for so called entertainment, or sport, or in the factory farms or laboratories of this nation.

So if you see that as an odd motivation for our actions, I can only ask why? It makes perfect sense to me.

[Abridged] 

powerplays

sv3nno, you accuse someone of trying to use power over you (as if that is a wrong thing to) and yet you seem to see no validity in the argument that humans unnecessarily exerting power over animals is a wrong thing to do. 

Anyway, the main issue here is debating what constitutes humane and ethical behaviour, not making wild conjectures about the personal characterisics and motives of participants in the debate.

Ironic or not

I notice you didn't comment on the point Mr Scott. Just because you are a vegan activist on an ironic high horse doesn't mean other people have to bend to your will and change their culture.

Dead right

By 'none of you' I presume you mean members of SAFE, stevepf?

Well, with a few possible exceptions, you would probably be right. I certainly don't visit those places anyway. Like rodeos, they are also expolitative and subject the animals to boredom, stress, frustration, etc.

But even for the one or two members of SAFE, (we are all different, and all hold different philosophical viewpoints), who might go to those places, you would not seriously suggest that they involve the same levels of fear, and risk of injury that rodoes do, would you?

In rodeos, pain is deliberately inflicted on the animals to make them buck. (Just Google 'flank strap' to see what I mean).

All suffering is bad. But I'm sure you can understand that there are degrees of suffering. Rodeos are definitely on the bad end of the scale of abuse.

Clear differences

@stevepf. Is the argument that if you can't resolve 100% of a problem, you shouldn't try to solve any of the problem ? Does one injustice make another injustice acceptable ? Every solution has to start somewhere. Many zoos and animal parks attempt to offer their animals a degree of choice. It's not the same choice they would have in the wild, so it's still not what we should accept. That being said, many animal parks are sadly necessary today to ensure the survival of species. With a rodeo, aside from barrel racing, the animals have no choice. Zero. Be chased or, well, be chased. We won't solve the whole problem of animal welfare by banning rodeos, but we will be making a improvement on the current conditions. And that can only be positive.

Ironic comment

svenn0, ironically, you have hit the nail on the head! I.e. your phrase, "with little thought given to those
groups it affects."

It is precisely because of an important group that it affects, that we are opposing rodeos! The group I refer to, is of course, the animals. It affects them more than anyone else.

Do you really believe that some of the more trivial of human interests - I.e. so-called "sport" and "entertainment" - are of greater importance than the other animals' most essential interests - I.e. the right to live their life free from pain, fear, injury, etc.? If so, then why, for goodness sake? On what rational basis could you possibly make that assertion?

I, and many others, believe that animals deserve moire more respect than that. You must remember, we are animals ourselves. We are not that important. They are not that unimportant.

Even in the 19th century, the Irish philosopher and politician Jeremy Bentham recognised this. He said, "The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk', but 'Can they suffer?'"

They can. They do. But we can stop it. We have a choice.

[Abridged]

Different?

So I can assume from this that none of you visit zoos or animal parks throughout the world? I'd love to hear your justification of what makes these different.

Rodeo animal ethics

Members of our community taking a position and advocacy for an end to rodeo events comes from a considered ethical position shaped by a compassion and deep respect for the animals involved, not a " kneejerk response" or shallow thought.

History has had many people who are prepared to stand up to injustice and oppression, so without the C Scotts and his ilk we as creatures of thought and reflection would still be burdened with slavery, cannibalism and institutionalised cruelty. [abridged]

Less bubble wrap, thanks.

You made a choice to be a vegan and stop going to rodeos. That's your choice you are free to make but you shouldn't attempt to force it on others. Too often the kneejerk response to something a group of people don't like is to regulate and penalise with little thought given to those groups it affects.

Further thoughts.

I have to concede, sv3nn0, that it is not 100% about entertainment. Yes, there is the competitive and social elements for the participants/competitors and their friends and families. And I even have to respect the courage of the people who ride the animals.

Waxing lyrical

Sky diving and bungee jumping are expensive hobbies and not as difficult or exciting as rodeo. Not to mention they aren't agricultural. As for tradition, you point out that it has been around for over 50 years and that makes it traditional to most people, if not for your sky diving and bungee jumping part of NZ culture.

Lonesome Dove not hell bent for leather

Drop the jumps and you have The West, right here, right now. Dixie Chicks on the radio with Randy Travis, please. Leave rodeo to the gauchos, sure, but dont conflate Country with bucolic machismo.

Facts, leather, stetsons & empty holsters

"Get Your Facts Right" plays with the truth & logic in the use of animals in rodeo eventing.

The DCC has every right to stop our grounds being used for this money making / animal domination spectacle. 

Writing that the rodeo as a NZ tradition is a false hood. The rodeo movement only appeared in NZ from the early 1960's with a National competition being held in 1973.

The activity is deeply traditional to country Americans with no basis in the Polynesian or European migrant agricultual experience. The clothing is American in the Cowboy tradition. The clothing, methods & events are straight out of rural use going back to in part to Spanish cattle & horse handling. (yes bullfighting lurks as part of this ethos)

What is it all about ? Animals being tormented to prove manhood, turned into a compertition of the fearful, brave & foolhardy, a chance to play at being a Cowboy with injuries to both parties always present.

If it's the controlling skill & adrenalin you crave, dress up the your cowboy outfits before sky diving or bungee jumping. This new manhood approach would achieve a win win for both the animals & participants. When finished for the day you can still get in the pickup, pop a straw in you mouth & ride into the Southern sunset listening to country & western on the radio.

 

any local government leadership role now?

stevepf: You raise an interesting point about whether it is any business of the DCC's to consider banning rodeos on council-owned land.

It has long been accepted that mayors have a leadership role and may take a stand on local issues

Examples are Dunedin Mayor Cull speaking publicly supporting the Hillside Workshops  workers' demonstration and also Christchurch Mayor Parker, speaking publicly on many occasions after the earthquakes.

Also, full councils sometimes make resolutions which could be put in the category of 'community leadership' or 'taking a stand on a local issue', presumably attempting to reflect the current views and values of their communities. For example, the recent resolution made by the DCC to support the fracking moratorium. 

Questions: Do the 2012 Local Government Act  amendments mean they can no longer do this?

Is the function of local government now purely regulatory, administrative and concerned with public services provision? (If so, why not dispense with elected representatives altogether and have only managers?)

On the other hand, if within the terms of the amended law mayors and councillors still do have a community leadership role, what  sort of actions are appropriate for them to undertake in carrying it out? Might local polls and referendums have a place in this?

I suspect  people affected by the law change are still trying to work out answers to such questions. 

Bring on the empty horses

Or riderless stars of the equestrian ring, as seen when El Caballo Blanca was in town. As on former battlefields, these horses can rear up and advance on enemy footsoldiers, should there be any about. Whippets? Can Dunedin go to the dogs?

Get your facts right

Carl Scott is wrong on many counts. Firstly he says "The ''barbaric spectacle'' was all in the name of entertainment" which ignores the skill, bravery, competitiveness, tradition and social aspects of rodeo. Any lesser description is not a whole truth.

Secondly he says "rodeos were cruel and brutal ''displays of dominance'' that left animals terrified and, in some cases, injured or needing to be euthanised." To back Mr Doherty's up the I have never seen an animal injured or euthanised at a rodeo. Not to mention these displays of dominance are not always stacked in the human's favour. A bull could weigh upwards of 600kg.

Then ''I think there will be very few people who will disapprove of a ban,'' he said. The 7500 people who paid to attend the large rodeo are not a "few people." There are also a lot of small rodeos around Otago and they have a large following where many of the participants are following in their fathers and grand-fathers footsteps. If Mr Scott took the time to meet these people with an open mind he would find they are actually compassionate to their animals.

Perhaps this storm in a tea cup is a sign of the gradual urbanisation of New Zealand. 

Mutual cooperation

Topsy now that you have cleared up Cr Wilson's confusion between rodeo and other equestrian events perhaps you could clarify you definitions of 'mutual cooperation' and 'consent'.

It seems to me that I have only ever seen one in these partnerships holding a whip or wearing spurs.

Not the DCC's issue

If you don't agree with it, fine. Boycott it. It's as simple as that. I don't think it's the councillors' job to pass opinion on something like this by banning such an event. If steps have been taken to liase with key advisory organisations and they are ok with it, why do those that no nothing about rodeos have the right to boldly state to ban it due to animal cruelty. 

This isn't the DCC's problem, they have their own to deal with. 

Well well

Now, that was well said.  It was once believed that you could tell the extent of a civilisation by how they treated their most vulnerable citizens and their animals. (Paraphrasing here, but you get my drift) we are not as civilised as we could be and are getting worse.

Rodeo banning progress needed

It's time the pro-rodeo group let go of this archaic activity. Let it join the other cruel unnecessary amusements such as bear baiting, dogfighting etc in history's dustbin. If today's ODT article regarding the enlightened attitude of our elected councillors is correct, I can only hope they have the courage to help put an end to this needless animal torment in a thoughtful and ethical manner.

No I do not belong to any animal welfare group but despair at the callousness practised by man is if he has an ordained right to treat creatures with almost contempt for his profit and amusement. No doubt there are many who share the same thoughts and values. 

It has nothing to do with the Stadium.....

If you note in the article, it states "ban rodeos from all council-owned land and facilities", not just the stadium.

If the council does go ahead with the ban, and rodeos are organised to take place in a farmer's back paddock instead, then one can hope that they would require a permit from the council, and that the council would not issue such a permit.

Dear Cr Wilson

I'm more than happy to help clear up any confusion you may have. Equestrian sports rely entirely on mutual cooperation between rider and horse. Without the consent of the horse, the combination cannot jump, perform dressage, or barrel race. This is why the countries which have banned rodeo events, allow for barrel racing events. Greyhound racing is the same, it relies completely on the cooperation and free will of the dog. No one runs after the dog, terrifying it into running. Only in a rodeo is an animal forced to perform something it does not want to do solely through the use of force and terror. Spot the key difference ?

The show will go on!

The rodeo show will go on whether it's in the Dunedin Stadium or not. Is it not best to have the rodeo at the stadium so the wider public can keep their eye on it or should it be delegated to some farmer's back paddock where only die hard Rodeo fans will attend?

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