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This is the time of year rodeos are run and advertised, usually as 'community fun events for all the family'.
Before you decide to take your family along to a rodeo, consider the following and whether you actually want your children to witness these events.
In a rodeo animals are subjected to intense stress and fear. They are chased, roped, grabbed and wrestled in aggressive displays. Some animals can sustain injuries such as torn ligaments, broken bones, bruising and internal damage. In some cases these are so severe that animals die or are killed on site. Recently, at the Gisborne rodeo, a bull was shot after dislocating part of his leg during a bull riding event.
Bear in mind that animals used in rodeos are not wild animals. Normally docile, they are induced into aggressive behaviour by painful or irritating means. Examples include electric prods, tail twisting, flank straps and painful spurs - all used to get the animals to perform for the spectators. The contestants voluntarily take part and risk injury but the animals have no such choice - they are involuntary participants who risk injury and death without any say-so on their part.
Rodeo is condemned by vets, welfare experts and animal protection organisations worldwide. It is inherently cruel. By taking impressionable children along it is showing them that it is acceptable to torment animals in their way.
Do we really want to belong to a community, and a culture, that abuses animals in the name of entertainment?
Take your family to the beach instead: a lot more fun and no one gets hurt.
- Fiona Cargill