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The president of the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association, Lyal Cocks (left), with MP Ron Mark (centre) and national rodeo spokesman Michael Laws at the Wanaka Rodeo yesterday. Photos: Gregor Richardson
The president of the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association, Lyal Cocks (left), with MP Ron Mark (centre) and national rodeo spokesman Michael Laws at the Wanaka Rodeo yesterday. Photos: Gregor Richardson
Lochie Cowan, of Kurow, stays aboard in the junior steer ride at the Wanaka Rodeo.
Lochie Cowan, of Kurow, stays aboard in the junior steer ride at the Wanaka Rodeo.

An estimated 5000 people attended the Wanaka Rodeo on a sweltering day yesterday as temperatures rose above 30degC.

The event was also attended by Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs Ron Mark, NZ First MP Mark Patterson and national rodeo spokesman Michael Laws.

The president of the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association and Wanaka Rodeo Club, Lyal Cocks, said the atmosphere at the event was very positive, although some rodeo signs on nearby roads had been defaced early yesterday.

Mr Laws said there had been record turnouts at some Otago rodeos over the past few weeks and given the negative media attention surrounding rodeos in recent times, yesterday's public turnout was ''fantastic''.

''If you look around here, this is exactly what rodeo is all about. It's about families, it's about sitting out in the sun having a beer and enjoying high-class sport.''

Mr Laws was appointed national media spokesman for the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association in March last year. He said his job was to stand up for association members.

''When I first came in I took a look at all the technical research that was done here in New Zealand and overseas,'' he said.

''The only controversial aspect of rodeo at the moment is calf-roping. We've had a look at the evidence but we haven't seen anything yet to suggest that calves are in danger. If they were, we wouldn't do it - it's really simple.''

sean.nugent@odt.co.nz

Comments

"High class sport"? Hardly. True "sport" denotes a competition with willing, evenly-matched contestants. Rodeo does not qualify. Rodeo is a macho exercise in DOMINATION, an inherent cruelty condemned by nearly EVERY major animal welfare organization on the planet. For most of the animals involved, rodeo is merely a detour en route to the slaughterhouse.

Most of rodeo is bogus from the git-go. REAL working cowboys never routinely rode bulls, or rode bareback, or wrestled steers, or practiced calf roping as a timed event (BABIES!). Nor did they put flank straps on the animals, or work them over in the holding chutes with electric prods....Some "sport"!

Rodeo belongs in the dustbin of history, along with wild animal circus acts, trophy hunting and other "Crimes Against Nature." The animals (and we) deserve far better. Even Pope Francis agrees. (See his 2015 "Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality."

Season's Greetings, and Peace to All, humans and non-humans alike.

Sincerely,
Eric Mills, coordinator
ACTION FOR ANIMALS
Oakland, California
email - afa@mcn.org - Correspondence welcome!

This foreigner opining from overseas has never been to the Wanaka Rodeo nor I suspect any New zealand rodeo. A 2014 Rodeo Code, vets in attendance, MPI inspectors and some of the most animal-friendly folk in NZ oversee rodeos in this country. In 2016 a NZ Parliament inquiry looked at all the scientific and technical evidence and rejected any animal welfare concerns. It made the point that rodeos occupy an important role in rural & provincial NZ and saw no need for change. Truth.

 

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