More than 10,000 people have signed a petition to stop
Saturday's New Zealand International Rodeo at Claudelands
Event Centre in Hamilton.
But the rodeo looks set to go ahead amid calls from Save
Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) and a Hamilton animal
activist that rodeo is a dated blood sport and should be
Rodeo organiser Darryl Tombleson says there have never been
any injuries to animals, or people, in his rodeo in the five
years it's been operating.
"We have vets on site and structures in place to ensure there
aren't any injuries. I appreciate their opinion but we are
pedantic about ensuring the animals' safety," said Mr
Tombleson. "I've never understood the mentality of people
jumping up and down without knowing the facts."
SAFE campaign manager Mandy Carter said rodeo had "nothing to
do with New Zealand".
"It's not a tradition here - it's something that's been
imported from the US. The animals are genuinely scared. The
animals are put under an enormous amount of stress. It's
"We encourage pet owners to lock cats and dogs inside and to
put horses away in stables around Guy Fawkes but the animals
[in the rodeo] are metres from pyrotechnics and loud music.
It's twisted logic."
Mr Tombleson said pyrotechnics would not be used in this
year's rodeo. "The short answer is we are not using
pyrotechnics, we are using some visuals."
He said the 'visuals' consisted of "flame cannons suspended
in the air". A press release about the show stated the rodeo
would feature pyrotechnics.
Animal activist Alvina Edwards started an online petition
which has drawn signatures from throughout the world.
"Rodeo is banned in many countries. It is banned in
Auckland," said Ms Edwards. Auckland Council passed a
resolution banning rodeos from council-owned land following
public backlash at plans for Auckland to host a tri-nations
rodeo in June 2008.
Ms Edwards hoped the rodeo wouldn't go ahead.
"Money is valued far more than animal welfare. It's about
greed and revenue gathering."
SAFE are organising protests against tomorrow's rodeo.
Mayor Julie Hardaker has been condemned for allowing the
rodeo to be hosted at a council-owned facility and some want
her to stand down as chairwoman of Waikato SPCA.
Hamilton City Council events facilities' director of business
development and marketing Murray Jeffrey said "council is not
hosting the event; it is hiring the facility to the event
promoters and organisers. The event complies with council's
event venues booking policy and last year drew a sold-out
crowd of 4200 at Claudelands."
The show will feature top Kiwi showjumper Katie McVean in a
stunt riding display, alongside other riders from New
Zealand, Australia, the US and Canada.
- The Hamilton News