Cowboys mull defamation action

A major supporter has withdrawn from its involvement in rodeos. Photo Getty
A major supporter has withdrawn from its involvement in rodeos. Photo Getty
The New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association is considering defamation action against online group New Zealand Anti-Rodeo Coalition after a major supporter withdrew from its involvement in rodeos.

Lions Clubs New Zealand yesterday issued a statement saying it would no longer support Lions Clubs to participate in any profiting from, or providing support for, rodeo events using the Lions Clubs New Zealand brand.

Association president Lyal Cocks, of Wanaka, believed the decision by the Lions Clubs was a result of online pressure from anti-rodeo groups, who he said had accused the Lions organisation of animal cruelty.

``This anti-rodeo group is a sham, designed only to spread hate and lies, and it's a pity that the Lions organisation has bowed down to this totally unacceptable harassment.''

Mr Cocks said the group had been making defamatory comments for more than a year but had recently increased its efforts as the new rodeo season approached.

``No New Zealand rodeo has been charged with animal cruelty. [In fact] it is one of the few sports which is required to have a veterinarian and an animal welfare officer attend every official event to ensure cruelty doesn't occur.''

Mr Cocks believed the Lions Clubs' decision to disassociate from rodeos would have major effects on small towns where rodeos were the major event of the summer.

``In places like Methven, the rodeo is the biggest event of the year.

``Many of these communities rely on the funds raised at these events and without the Lions support, these communities will suffer.''

The association was seeking legal advice, he said.

Attempts to contact the New Zealand Anti-Rodeo Coalition were unsuccessful.

 - Sean Nugent



Congratulations to the Lions Clubs New Zealand. Absolutely fantastic to see them withdrawing support for rodeo. Wish more people would see animal cruelty for what it is. I look forward to a day when rodeo it relegated to the history books. Lions Club, you have my full support.

All you need to do is watch the many videos taken at NZ rodeos to see the proof of cruelty in action. If animals being scared witless and calves violently roped can be classed as cruelty, then it's there on film in spades. Truth is the ultimate defence in cases of defamation.

Well done Lion Clubs. It’s nice to see people finally calling it for what it is.

The author of this has been done a pretty poor job. SPCA have been calling for rodeo ban for around 30 years, NZ Veterinary Assiociation Position Statement expresses their concerns for animal welfare at rodeos, and calls for reconsideration of the events. Of course Lions club are going to listen to the animal science & welfare experts over a very small handful of cowboys.
What more is there to know...Dead animals in recent years, loads of video footage of the most horrible and blatant cruelty, SPCA calling for a ban, NZVA concerned enough to call for reconsidering the 'sport'. Lions club have shown leadership and great judgment on this one. No amount of abuse and hissy fits from the rodeo group will be able to take away from the hard facts, at the end of the day. Sorry mate!