Shun rodeo, animal rights group says

Thumbs down. . .Safe Dunedin co-ordinator Carl Scott holds a copy of the Animal Welfare Act,...
Thumbs down. . .Safe Dunedin co-ordinator Carl Scott holds a copy of the Animal Welfare Act, while Safe volunteer Dianne Smith holds an anti-rodeo poster outside Forsyth Barr Stadium. Photo by Tim Miller
An animal rights campaigner is asking people to stay away from the International Rodeo event at Forsyth Barr Stadium later this month and says the Dunedin City Council should reconsider allowing the event to be held in Dunedin.

Safe (Save Animals From Exploiæ tation) Dunedin co-ordinator Carl Scott said rodeos exploited animals for people's entertainment.

‘‘You have to be blunt about it - animals are being frightened and exploited because people think it is fun to watch,'' Mr Scott said.

It was embarrassing the council would allow something likea rodeo to be held in Dunedin, he said.

‘‘Rodeos are banned in Europe and Auckland banned them in its city limits a few years ago, so it is an embarrassment on the DCC that they would allow the International Rodeo in the city. ‘‘It's not entertainment for the animals,'' he said.

International Rodeo production manager Fred Doherty said in the five years the International Rodeo had been running, no participants or animals had accidents. Rodeos in New Zealand followed the National Animal Advisory Committee guidelines, which had been used by all rodeo clubs in New Zealand since 2003.

‘‘There has not been one breach of the code in the years since it was made,'' Mr Doherty said.

All animals were checked before and after rodeos by veterinarians, and if there were any issues with the health of the animal, they would not take part in the rodeo, he said.

‘‘Rodeo people are livestock people. They have been dealing with them all their life and they know how to handle the animals properly.

‘‘It's going to be a good old night and people should get along,'' Mr Doherty said.

SPCA Otago chief inspector Virginia Pine said two SPCA inspectors would be on duty before, during and after the rodeo, making sure that the welfare code was followed.

‘‘We are fortunate we havea good working relationship with rodeo organisers . . . At the end of the day, we are both trying to achieve the same thing.''

Any concerns the SPCA had raised over rodeos in the past had been taken seriously by the organisers, she said.

Mr Scott said there were no plans to protest about the rodeo, but Safe members would write letters to different organisations in Dunedin opposing the event.

Mayor Dave Cull said the council did not have a bylaw forbidding rodeos from being held in the city, and was not in the position to do so.

Events held at the stadium were organised and procured by Dunedin Venues Management Ltd and the council had no say in who used the venue, Mr Cull said

‘‘There is probably widespread support and sympathy for what Safe is saying about the welfare of animals used in rodeos.

‘‘But the best thing for them to do would be to bring their concerns to council and take it from there,'' he said.

The International Rodeo will be held on November 17 at Forsyth Barr Stadium.


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